Do reporters use social media? Yes they do, almost universally. Do they want you to send them pitches that way? Not at all.
That’s according to the 2014 State of the Media report released by marketing and PR software firm Vocus Thursday. In its survey of 256 media professionals from newspapers, online media, TV, magazines, and radio, researchers found that more than 90 percent of respondents say email is their preferred method of receiving story ideas.
The other options were social media, phone calls, and instant messenger.
A magazine health care reporter the researchers interviewed said, “Social media is conversation in public with the public. What I decide to report on is not open for public debate. Plus, it’s lazy. If you can find my Twitter handle, you can find my email.”
Another interviewee, an online business reporter, added, “I just want a short, clear press release with some facts so I can see if I want to follow up.”
Nearly half of the respondents—45 percent— said they’d rather not receive pitches through social media at all. The ones who did say they’re OK with social media pitches tended to prefer Facebook (37.1 percent) and Twitter (30.6 percent).
The study found that nearly all the reporters surveyed do use social media, at least occasionally. Only 1.9 percent said they never use it, while more than three-fourths use it either “very frequently” or “frequently.”
They view social media more as a tool for self-promotion than for connecting with sources, however. The biggest groups of respondents said they most often use social media for connecting with viewers and readers or promoting stories.
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Asked to rank their trust in information coming from social media on a scale from one to 10, the biggest group, 27.2 percent, said they’d give it a five.