Journalists Turn to Net

Journalists now use the Internet as often and as comfortably as they use the telephone, according to the 5th annual Middleberg/Ross “Media in CyberSpace Study.”

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The annual survey was conducted by public relations firm Middleberg + Associates and Professor Steven Ross of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The survey asked how both magazine and newspaper journalists use the Internet.

The Internet ranks second in importance for handling new sources and providers of stories, the survey found. Magazine journalists prefer the phone, newspapers journalists prefer in-person contact.

Only 2 percent of the respondents to this year’s survey had no access to the Internet or failed to answer the question. In 1995, 37 percent had no access, last year it was 9 percent.

“Growth in the use of the Internet as a common journalistic tool for research and distribution has happened over a remarkably short timespan,” Ross said.

Sixty percent of the respondents said their publication, or parts of it, are online. Six percent of magazine respondents and 10 percent of newspaper respondents say they have no plans to go online. Print and new media operations are shared in more than half of the nation’s newsrooms, the study found. Only 13 percent of respondents report they are totally separate.

In breaking news situations, newspaper journalists turn to the Web second, after calling other interested parties, such as emergency services or community groups. Magazine journalists turn to the Web third, after other interested parties and industry experts.

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