The use of social media in the work of local newspaper journalists.
conference contributionposted on 07.03.2012, 15:09 by Roger D. Dickinson
As the news industry embraces the various forms of social media to help them remain competitive in their news gathering and maintain market position several authors have claimed that these media are beginning to have a large impact on the way journalists work. Several national British news organizations have recently made efforts to promote the use of social media among the workforce, encouraging journalists to take them more seriously and implying that skills in this area are no longer optional. Advocates of the use of social media in news work see them as important tools for building audiences and building relationships with sources. Some see social media as especially suited to local journalism which depends upon its connectedness with its local community and its links with local newsmakers. Social media are viewed as an aid to digital participation, helping newspapers reflect and serve the interests of their readers. Despite suggestions of the apparently high level of social media use among news workers, up to now we have learnt very little about the extent to which journalists are incorporating these tools into their routine work or, when they do, how they affect their reporting practices. This paper explores the evolving working practices of local journalists. It reports on a series of interviews with journalists working on a newspaper located in the East Midlands region of England which examined the extent and nature of social media use in local news work.