Can 75 percent of journalists really be getting story ideas from blogs?

by Shawn Smith on January 14, 2008

Online marketer Andy Beal makes note of a Brodeur and MarketWire survey (pdf) which found that 75 percent of journalists use blogs to generate story ideas. This sounds like an awesome statistic – but I’m not so sure I believe it.

Jerry Johnson, head of strategic planning at Brodeur, clarifies a little in a press release:

“While only a small percentage of journalists feel that blogs are helpful in generating sources or exclusives, they do see blogs as particularly useful in helping them better understand the context of a story, a new story angle, or a new story idea. It appears that reporters are using blogs more for ethnographic research than they are for investigative research,” Johnson commented.

That seems to make a little more sense. Journalists are using blogs for background research … wait, really? Are surveyors sure about that? I would really be interested to know the age groups of people who were surveyed, because it hasn’t been my experience that many older reporters read blogs all too often. In fact, how many journalists have the time to read blogs?

Blog widow by KK+According to the survey, one in five reporters actually read blogs at least one hour per day! And nearly three in five read blogs two to three times a week!!!one!1!! (Photo by KK+)

Despite journalists’ apparent readiness to read blogs, nearly half (48 percent) remain lurkers (meaning they don’t comment or participate) and only one in four writes their own blog. Even less, one in five, updates a social networking profile.

The survey revealed some interesting findings (pdf), but I’m not so sure these are correct. What do you think? Are reporters in your news orgs jumping on the blogging bandwagon? Have they started to trust blogs as story generators?