Social Media

Social Media is Like a Police Scanner in a Newsroom

Not much more can be said about journalists’ use of social media that has not already been reported. We know it has changed the way we do our jobs and how journalists engage with PR pros and sources. A good reminder of this is Vocus’ State of Media Report 2013. To report the findings, Vocus invited seasoned PR pro Gini Dietrich, Founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich to talk about what the results mean for our industry.

Despite the fact that 2013 was the year when media and social media converged some legal PR professionals still struggle to explain why social media is applicable for elevating a firm’s brand and securing media coverage. Maybe some of the survey’s results will help make the case as to why it is not going away anytime soon.

How has social media impacted journalists?

Social media is dictating how stories are discovered and what is being covered
Journalists use social networks to find stories and engage with PR professionals

Social media has allowed journalists to connect with sources, far and wide, that were not a part of their circles of influence beforehand

Journalists are using social media for 1) research 2) engagement 3) promotion


30% use for research
40% for engagement
51% to promote their stories

Facebook and Twitter are still the top social networks, although Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google are popular too. For research, journalists told the survey that they use Newsle and


Use social media to share complaints, provide opinions and share their stories
Connect with sources and find story ideas
More are using it to bring in viewers/readers/listeners and create loyal followings


Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are still the most used sites by journalists 3/4 find social media useful to promote their stories

According to David Coates at VOCUS, social media is “Modern day police scanner that is in every newsroom.” Journalists use social media sites to monitor stories the competition is covering and try to scoop them. Because of that, reporters prefer pitches via email. 97% of journalists in the survey said email is still the main way to present a story and source. It’s the best way to keep the competition from copying their leads.

What does this mean for media relations pros? Like I have said in past blog posts, nothing has changed. We still need to build relationships and do our research. We just have new tools we can use to make our jobs easier.