Survey reveals financial media reliance on Wikipedia

Eighty per cent of financial journalists use Wikipedia to research stories, while only a quarter of in-house financial services PR professionals have tried to amend their firm's entry.

Research: Eighty per cent of journalists rely on Wikipedia data
Research: Eighty per cent of journalists rely on Wikipedia data

The findings come from Broadgate Mainland's annual Digital Trends Survey, which this year quizzed 156 financial journalists and 83 in-house comms officers.

The survey revealed that although 75 per cent of journalists said they were sceptical about the accuracy of Wikipedia entries, four out of five admitted to using the site as part of their research.

Despite the power of the site, in-house comms professionals have been reluctant to change their brand's entries. Of those surveyed, just 12 per cent working in the financial services industry have successfully made changes to their firm's Wikipedia pages.

The findings follow high profile media revelations about Bell Pottinger and Portland editing clients' pages. The CIPR has subsequently issued guidance that its members should not edit pages of their companies or clients.

The way journalists engage with social media also appears to be changing, preferring to 'listen in' to conversations rather than engaging directly.

Forty-three per cent of journalists said they used Twitter to observe conversations and 38 per cent used it to research stories. Just 12 per cent of journalists used Twitter as a tool to chat, a huge fall from 47 per cent who said they did this in 2011.

Sarah Evans-Toyne, executive director at Broadgate Mainland, said that journalists were increasingly aware of the importance of digital.

‘Over half of the journalists we surveyed recognised the importance of building a social media audience for their careers and the survey revealed two in 10 journalists now have their own personal websites,’ she noted.

Email was the universally preferred method of receiving pitches, with no interest at all in being pitched to via social media channels.

Natalie Kenway, deputy news editor, Wealth Management at Investment Week, one of the journalists surveyed, commented: 'At Investment Week the journalists are using Twitter more and more to interact with readers but I don’t think it will become the main point of contact and replace email/phone. It is useful if you are looking for a comment in a specialist area, using the hashtag #journorequest, but we aren’t checking it as regularly as we are our emails so pitches from PRs will get lost on Twitter.'

Click here to watch a PRWeek podcast about Broadgate Mainland's research, featuring Julian Knight, Independent on Sunday money and property editor, and Sarah Evans-Toyne, Broadgate Mainland executive director.

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