Social Media Isn’t Taking Over the News

31 Mar Social Media Isn’t Taking Over the News

A guest speaker came to one of my PR classes in college and told the room that we had better master social media now, because traditional news outlets will be obsolete in the near future.

I’d like to preface this post by saying that I think staying on top of social media news and trends is essential for all PR pros. That being said, I just can’t get behind the notion that traditional news outlets are going by the wayside any time soon. I believe there is a reason and an audience for virtually every medium and while social media is an incredible tool it will never fully replace traditional news.

A few weeks ago one of our clients tweeted an article from fast company that caught my eye, “Study: Social Media Isn’t Replacing Traditional News Outlets at All.”

As a part of The Media Insight Project, The Associated Press, American Press Institute, and NORC at the University of Chicago collaborated to examine the “Personal News Cycle” and the way Americans consume the news. In a study of 1,492 adults surveyed over the phone about their media habits, researchers found that “the conventional wisdom holding that media consumption divides largely along generational or ideological lines is overstated.”

As expected, The Media Insight Project found that people with smartphones were three times as likely to get news alerts through social media and twice as likely to use search engines and aggregators for news.”

However they also found that an overwhelming majority of Americans rely on multiple sources to get their news. Convenience is becoming more important than loyalty to a specific outlet and people are open to whatever channel is easily accessible when they have the time to catch up on news.


© Copyright 2014. The Media Insight Project

The Media Insight Project found that social media isn’t replacing traditional news outlets, its just adding to the existing news cycle and changing the way we process the news. Instead of waiting for the 11 o’clock news, people are getting updates in real time from Facebook or Twitter, but more than 80% of people say they also go directly to news organizations other channels, like live news or print edition, for updates.

The point is, the current news landscape is built so that people can take in as much or as little information as is convenient. Social media isn’t taking over news delivery, it’s adding to the existing options that aren’t going away any time soon.

Sally McHugh
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