News via social media

Two new reports - one from the UK and one from the US - explore the role of social media as a path to the news.

In the US, Pew Research analysed the characteristics – and numbers - of people accessing news via 11 social networking sites.  Facebook is by far the most popular network for news stories:

  • 30% of the US adult population get news updates from Facebook
  • 10% get news from YouTube and Twitter
  • 2% of the US adult population get news updates via reddit

Facebook is an important source of referrals to news stories, but those who land on the news story via Facebook spend much less time and visit fewer pages than users who land on the page directly.

The difference between Facebook and Twitter

While a core function of Twitter is to distribute news breaks, the most common type of news seen by Facebook users is entertainment news.  However, Facebook has been tweaking its algorithms to improve timeliness in newsfeeds.

Facebook becomes a trusted source of local news

In the UK, YouGov has been investigating the most trusted and popular sources of local news.

When it comes to local news, local newspapers and TV stations are the most popular source of local news - but that Facebook has grown in popularity over the last 12 months (up from 22% to 27%).

Twitter too is growing in popularity – up to 11% from 9% a year ago.  And news is increasingly mobile:

Newsrooms need to be ready for the digital world

According to the director of content for German publisher Axel Springer, it is inevitable that online content will become the primary product for all newspapers. Media observer Charlie Beckett agrees.  Newspapers must restructure their businesses to place priority on digital production and consumption. He sees positive trends in the newspaper industry

  • Interesting combinations of the new and the old formats
  • Growth in media markets across the world
  • Growth of award winning content
  • New strategies, new investors and new economic models

He advises news organisations to focus on how their content can fit into the new commercial realities of social media.

Sources: The Press Gazette; Pew Research; InPublishing.