Survey shows 94% of journalists use social media for their job

Use varies with political composition of their audience
Survey shows 94% of journalists use social media for their job

94% of journalists in the U.S. use social media for their job. Twitter is the number one. Journalists’ use of social media sites varies by what they identify as the political composition of their audience. These are results from a survey made by Washington-based Pew Research Center that asked reporters, editors and others in the news industry about their use of social media.

Journalists who say they work at an outlet whose audience leans right politically are much more likely than those with left-leaning audiences to say Facebook is one of their top two social media sites for their work (67% vs. 45%). Conversely, journalists who say their organization has a left-leaning audience are twice as likely as those who say their organization has a right-leaning audience to use Instagram (24% vs. 12%).

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Twitter is the by far most common site that journalists use but the public most often goes to Facebook for news. Social media sites used by journalists frequently differ from those used by the public to find news.

Among journalists, Twitter clearly ranks at the top of the list for work-related tasks. 69% of the journalists say it is the social media site they use most or second most for their job. Twitter is followed by Facebook at 52% and, far lower on the list, by Instagram (19%), LinkedIn (17%) and YouTube (14%). None of the other sites asked about in the survey – Reddit, WhatsApp, TikTok, Discord, Twitch and Snapchat – were named by more than 4% of the journalists surveyed.

Twitter is a particular favorite among the youngest journalists, with 83% of those ages 18 to 29 identifying it as one of their most commonly used social media sites. In stark contrast, 45% of journalists 65 and older identify Twitter as one of their top two social media sites for work tasks. Instagram is also more popular among younger journalists (those under 50), while LinkedIn and YouTube are somewhat more popular among older journalists (those ages 50 and older).

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Among Americans overall, Facebook is the most widely used social media site for news, with 31% of U.S. adults saying they go there regularly for news. YouTube is the second-most frequently used site, with 22% of the public regularly getting news there. Fewer adults (13%) say they regularly get news on Twitter, despite the platform’s widespread use among journalists. Overall, a little under half of U.S. adults (48%) say they often or sometimes get news from social media sites.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is more likely to be used by journalists at nationally or internationally focused news organizations. Around a quarter of journalists at national news organizations (25%) and international news organizations (27%) count LinkedIn among their most frequently used social media sites, compared with only 9% of journalists at community-focused news outlets and 12% of those working at outlets with a statewide focus.

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