Digital Journalism Review
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 3:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 4:01pm

Digest: How can social media benefit journalists' work?


Ivan Zhai is the Social Media Editor at the South China Morning Post. Prior to his current position, Ivan spent 10 years working for the Guangzhou-based 21st Century World Herald and in the Post's Guangzhou bureau, covering Chinese politics, macroeconomics and online communities. In 2008, Ivan won an Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship. He shares his findings and thoughts on digital media, cognitive neuroscience and China on Twitter and Chinese microblogs as @ivanzhai.

As a social media editor, part of my job is to share useful social media tools and skills with colleagues in the editorial department, hoping they can benefit from using these new approaches. So frankly speaking, I was a bit disappointed to learn that until now less than 40 per cent of UK journalists say that social media can inprove their productivity.

(You can check more details appeared in a report of a survey here or below.)

The key point the survey shows, from my point of view, is the positive impact that social media can bring to a journalist. It really depends on his/her role in the newsroom, and the time he/she spends on the new platforms.

Generally, the more newspaper reporters engage with their readers online, the more useful information they will get. It is quite similar to the old rule that journalists have been following for decades: keep in touch with your sources, because you will get ideas for stories from them.

The question “how can journalists benefit from using social media” should be changed to “what are the journalist’s position and what are his/her tasks?”. Until these two basic questions are answered, it will be difficult for journalists to find the right social media platforms to improve their work.


-- "Only 39% of journalists believe social media impacts their work positively ... - The Drum

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-- Four reasons why an open-source newsroom is harder than it looks: Lessons from Al Jazeera 

-- Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism / Leveson calls RISJ report “a monumental piece of work” 
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