Brazilian journalists increasingly relying on online social networks, research shows

From searching for information to contacting sources, social network sites increasingly are impacting the routines of Brazilian journalists, according to new research from Oriella PR Network 2011 distributed in Brazil on Tuesday, June 7.

The study shows that nearly 80 percent of professional journalists in Brazil use social networks to contact sources, and 83.3 percent use information from the sites for stories, following in line with results from international research.

According to the researcher, Ana Brambilla, coordinator of the e-book “Understanding Social Media,” the results indicate a change in journalists' behavior. "Journalists admit they look for breaking news in social media, demonstrating that the prejudice against the quality and accuracy of information circulating in these environments is changing," she said in an interview with the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

In fact, when they are looking for information, journalists use the social networks more than press offices. According to the study, Twitter is the preferred source for 66.7 percent of Brazilian journalists, followed by Facebook with 58.3 percent, and blogs with 57.1 percent, and press offices just 50 percent.

But when it comes to verifying information, press offices still lead the way, used by 61 percent of respondents.

Other findings from the research indicate optimism for online media. In 2010, 41.7 percent of respondents said traditional print and broadcast media attracted the largest audiences. In 2011, though, that number fell to 34.5 percent, tied with online media, also at 34.5 percent.

A total of 84 Brazilian journalists were surveyed. The complete findings are available for download in PDF.

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» Knight Center (Social media increasingly important tools for journalists, but PR still reigns, says international digital journalism study)

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.