Every newspaper, every TV channel, every radio station and every press agency is using Twitter. Tweeting is a daily job. But how do these organizations tweet? How often do they tweet? What do they tweet? And do they use Twitter to gain insights from followers?
The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the George Washington University’s school of Media and Public Affairs studied the Twitter feeds from 13 major news organizations.
The main reason news organizations use Twitter is that they want to spread their ‘own’ news. 93% of the examined tweets sent readers back to their own websites. There is not much engagement with followers and sharing outside information is rare. The news they tweet matches the news they disseminate on their own platforms.
Although Twitter offers an interactive service, the news organizations don’t use it in the way it should be used. A service like that gives them the opportunity to communicate with their readers, to get to know them. That would be a good way to give their readers the news they actually want (to read). News organizations mainly only disseminate their own news, in a non-interactive way.
Only 2% of the tweets sent by these media contained information that wasn’t their own. Maybe this is a little bit old school. Of course you want people to read your magazine, your information, your opinions,… . But there isn’t any moneymaking involved here, since people don’t pay to read your tweets.
So why would they distribute other people’s news or information that isn’t theirs?
This could give readers the opportunity to create the whole story, with different point of views and opinions. As a journalist, you want to inform people. You’re not Superman and you don’t have to know/write everything. That’s why it would be easy to refer to other content.
Why wouldn’t they distribute other people’s news?
The news organizations simply don’t want people to go over to the competitors. What I said before about the fact that there isn’t any money involved, is not entirely correct. The advertisers won’t give your organization any money if there isn’t any interest in your articles.
So they have to find the happy medium. We can’t force them to share other organization’s work, but a story could be so complete if they did. Then the readers get the best out of the best. Unfortunately, I don’t think this could ever happen. But that hasn’t got anything to do with the ethics of journalism: gathering news, writing good articles and give it to your readers to provide them with the information they want and need. It’s the serious business of money. It always is.
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