The 5 main insights at a glance:

1. One-third of journalists said social media posts are not a reliable source of information. Despite this, half of journalists said social media were their main source of information.

2. Remarkably, half of journalists said they consider consumer opinion to be more reliable than a statement by an organisation. Journalists use social media to find out what people are talking about and when writing articles, but do not always check whether public opinion is based on facts.

3. Fact-checking has become less thorough; ‘publish first, correct if necessary’ is the motto these days. Only 20% of journalists always check their facts before publishing. Almost half of journalists said they published most of their stories as quickly as possible to correct later if necessary. PR professionals also noted that since the arrival of social media journalists are getting in contact less frequently to check facts.
4. Journalists (60%) said they feel less bound by journalistic rules on social media than with traditional media such as a newspaper article. They act differently on social media than in traditional media, sharing their personal opinion more openly on social media, despite the fact that journalists are seen as being objective and reporters of news facts relating to events of general importance.

5. Dutch PR professionals are lagging behind compared to their international counterparts. In the Netherlands the focus lies on sending out news, while internationally more attention is devoted to dialogue and direct contact with journalists and consumers via social media.

The 5 main expectations for the future

1. Journalists expect less fact-checking to be done in the future. Conversely the role of crowd-checking, whereby the public’s opinion is used and accepted as being true, will grow in importance.

2. User-generated content, such as tweets and pictures or videos from bystanders, is already widely used in news and is expected to grow further.

3. Dutch PR professionals will stage a catch-up as they reduce their focus on sending out releases and concentrate more on engaging in dialogue and building relations.

4. Journalists expect journalism to be driven by clicks and views more than by content.

5. PR professionals expect their contact with consumers to intensify with increasingly less involvement of journalists, now that they have the ability to approach the target group directly and engage in dialogue with them.

Publish first, correct later if necessary

With 45% of journalists putting out 60% to 100% of what they publish as soon as possible – without checking facts – and correct later if necessary, “publish first and correct later” seems to be the new motto.

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