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Beyond fake news: best journalistic practices for social media

Reading time 5 m.
7/02/2022

After many years of bad practices and controversy surrounding the use of social media as an information tool, journalism has allied with these networks in order to communicate more directly without skimping on accuracy.

In addition to blogs, podcasts or independent informational websites, several of the main outlets in the journalism industry, such as The Washington Post and the BBC, have recognised in TikTok an opportunity for journalism and for reaching new audiences.

We recently heard Phoebe Connelly, Director of Next Generation Audience Development at The Washington Post, reflect, during the Congreso Claves 2022, on the most important points to address if a media outlet is aiming to engage younger audiences:

Connelly focussed on conveying that the platforms that work best “are those that develop a good relationship with the audience and offer them what they want.” She also underlined the importance of building a strategy to create a fabulous presence on one platform, but avoid communicating from all of them at the same time.

Fake News and social media

Fake news is all over the Internet with clickbait headlines looking for quick and easy, and usually bad-quality, interaction. For a long time, social media has been the perfect breeding ground for the proliferation of all types of misleading or even entirely fake news.

Numerous studies have confirmed, over the years, that a large percentage of social media users use these networks as information channels. According to the latest results from Business Wire, 53% of the US population acknowledges using social media to keep up to date on current affairs. This means that these networks have been a huge threat to journalism and the right to information for a long time. The 'freedom' of the web allows anybody, regardless of their interests or the accuracy of the data, to publish or broadcast 'news'.

“Journalism needs solid ground on which to stand and good resources with which to work. But you can go viral without either.” (Business Wire, Inside Journalism’s Social Media World 2020)

Social media as a journalistic tool

The media have had to adapt to this new ecosystem, become a part of it and learn its rules, which are very different to the ones that apply to traditional journalism. During this transition, many journalists and media outlets have seen and understood a need for change and have carried out an exercise in transformation.

Business Wire recently published the results of a survey that investigated the current relationship between journalism and social media. And the results reflect the importance of social media platforms. Not only are they a tool for communicating more directly, but they also constitute an important source of information for the media outlets themselves.

For example, LinkedIn is an essential source in relation to the economy and significant business changes that journalists can monitor via this portal. 59% of the journalists surveyed by Business Wire said that they look at a company's social media profiles when they are researching it.

Best journalistic practices for social media

Among our clients, we found several examples of best practices for the use of social media as an information channel:

MARCA

The leading Spanish sports newspaper, publishes informal videos featuring sports stars on its TikTok profile.

La Voix du Nord

Has a team of photographers who, in keeping with Instagram's original philosophy, tell the news of the Pas-de-Calais region through beautiful imagery.

Ecuavisa

Is a general-interest television station in Ecuador that uses its Instagram profile to broadcast news in short video format. It uses the headline on the preview and the news is usually reported by the station's own reporters.

El Colombiano

is a general-interest media outlet that also uses video format to broadcast news via its Instagram. They are short videos that concentrate on the most important details of the news piece.

Mexico's Vanguardia newspaper

Is highly active on Facebook, especially in video format. It uses the Facebook Live tool to broadcast news live from the site of the news piece, to share discussion panels formed by professionals or to broadcast interviews on current affairs issues. And it also uses Facebook as a platform for sharing its podcast initiatives.

El Periódico del Azulejo

Is a specialist media outlet in the ceramic tiling industry. Its authority in the sector lets it use LinkedIn as a social network where any connected professional can get information on up-to-date news regarding the industry, trade fairs and innovation.

Protecmedia offers you a suite of tools developed specifically to help with your writing tasks: from a great DAM system where you can find resources for building your news piece to a CMS that automatically publishes your news and articles on social media, adapts the content to each channel and helps you monitor its impact on the audience. If you need any support in your digital transformation process and would like to know more about our tools, please contact our team.

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