Social media is supposed to be revolutionizing journalism, but British journalists don’t seem to be feeling the revolutionary spirit. In fact, our colleagues across the pond sound a bit skeptical about social media’s impact on their profession, according to a new survey of 769 U.K. hacks conducted by Canterbury Christ Church University and Cision, a global PR and media services company.
The most striking finding: the number of journalists who said that social media improves their productivity fell from 49% in 2011 to 39% in 2012. Meanwhile the proportion who actively disagreed with the statement increased from 20% to 34% over the same period. The skepticism extends to social media’s much-ballyhooed capability for engaging with online audiences, which in theory allows journalists to build followings of readers who hang on their every word, or at least glance at their tweets occasionally. Here, the proportion of journalists who strongly agreed that social media allows greater engagement with readers dropped from 43% to 27%.
For all the talk of crowd-sourcing, it’s not hugely popular with British journalists, with 23.7% saying they think it improves the quality of journalism. Forty percent of British journalists said they think social media is undermining traditional journalistic values like objectivity.
It’s not all doubt and ennui, however: 39% of U.K. journos said social media has indeed improved their productivity, and 28.1% of U.K. journos said they couldn’t do their work without social media. And its capabilities for self-promotion (something near and dear to every reporter’s heart) are undoubted: 77.5% said that it allows them to promote themselves and their work better.
Unsurprisingly, age plays a role in how British journalists view social media. For example, 60.3% of journalists under the age of 27 think social media has had a generally positive impact on the profession, compared with just 29.2% of journalists over the age of 45.