Internet & Social Media collectively is fast  becoming the major source of information for media professionals in the country. Majority of journalists cutting across age, gender, region, language, medium and specialization are using the internet from story conceptualization, and ‘content validation to background research and insights into current and evolving news updates and trends’. Social Media platforms has become a crucial platform for journalists to gauge & understand public opinion during crisis situation.

Where journalists are getting the lead for their story?
Where journalists are getting the lead for their story?

These insights and many more has been revealed in the 1st ever study – “Media Insights Report – EVOLVING SOURCES OF NEWS FOR MEDIA, conducted by Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), premier institutes for training, teaching and research in mass communication and MSL, a multidiscipline communications firms.

“Twitter is the new-age Parliament and Facebook is the new-age café.Social media is not an alternative to mainstream media, but is emerging as a force to shape the behavior of mainstream media.”

In together, 309 journalists were identified for the study comprising of 239 media professionals from English, 60 from  Hindi-language print media outposts, news and business television channels and digital media organizations and 10- Ten other journalists were selected from Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil and Telegu media.

Also out of the 309 respondents surveyed, 90 percent use social networking platforms, reaffirming the altering patterns of an increasingly multi- channel communications landscape. With younger journalists accessing social networking platforms with greater frequency, the age-factor presumably plays up here as well. 94 percent of journalists with less than 10 years of experience visit social networking platforms versus 59 percent of their counterparts who have more than two decades of experience.

According to study, “Personal interviews with journalists offered refreshing insights into the dynamics of social media usage. One respondent said he used Twitter to build contacts. Another said that scanning social networking sites offered a glimpse into the psyche of the youth. Journalists often surf the social networks to know what’s trending, and gauge the mood of the people, especially post a crisis situation. Another journalist opined that the advent of social media had changed the way ‘breaking news’ was being perceived.”

However, on top remains the sacrosanct news meeting which is held in every media houses for story ideas.

The research was conducted through one-on-one interviews with a number of journalists based in Delhi and telephonic interviews with journalists from various other cities and towns.

Key Findings on Social Media Platforms:

Twitter for getting connected & to have conatacts. Linkedin and google Plus cuts no ice with journalists,
Twitter for getting connected & to have contacts. Linked-in and Google Plus cuts no ice with journalists,
  • 90 percent Journalists use social networking platforms, reaffirming the altering patterns of an increasingly multi- channel communications landscape.
  •  Younger journalists accessing social networking platforms with greater frequency.
  • 92 percent Journalists have adopted the Internet for reasons ranging from research and information sourcing to story ideation and validation. While a meager 4 percent was found to draw resources from the Net to frame story ideas, 11 percent have been consuming the digital space for validation and 64 percent of journalists consider it as an effective platform for research and information sourcing.
  • Facebook rules the roost with 56 percent of journalists frequenting this platform over others.There’s this myth associated with social media of not being focused. The truth is you can be as serious or as frivolous on social media.
  • Checking on the veracity of sources involves identifying more innovative touch points across social media, company web sites and blogs, among others. A majority of journalists cutting across age, gender and specialization use the Internet to develop their stories.

Key Finding on Traditional form of Outreach : 


  • PR/Communication agencies and companies need to use the Net vigorously to reach out to the journalists faster.
  • Communication agencies are best placed advising their clients to post crisp content, sound bytes, clips and pictures on their web sites as journalists, especially in crisis situations, look for authentic pieces of information amid grapevine.
  • They also look for quotes from company spokespersons that could easily be made available through company web sites.
  • The traditional way of writing and sending press releases has long become outdated.
  • There is clearly a need to reinvent touch points, formats, styles and objectives of press releases when over 47% journalists use less than 10% of the press releases they receive. It is crucial for the sources of dispatching news releases to be exclusive.
  • Seniors file less number of articles than their junior counterparts.
  •  Internal brainstorming meetings are the biggest source of story ideas
  • Communications agencies are most preferred by journalists covering sports, followed by those covering Business & Corporate and Science & Technology Women reporters have a greater affinity for communications agencies versus their male counterparts

Key Findings on News Gathering by Journalists:

  • Most journalists (62%) prefer getting their information directly from the source, while choosing multiple options in the questionnaire. This could mean opting for interactions with the concerned spokesperson, engaging in a site visit, referring to company websites as a content source.
  • 89 percent of the journalists said that the gender of the source was immaterial. 
  • Sources for doing a well-rounded story, analysts are getting extremely important.
  • Company spokespeople are getting very repetitive. There are very few spokespeople who have that spark to keep a conversation going, without sounding the same every time.
  • Company websites can be an important source of information but far too many companies don’t even bother updating their websites, which kills the purpose. 

Credit : IIMC & MSL

Full Report (Must Read) :