Instagram a gold mine for journalists during hurricane Sandy

The hashtag #Sandy on Instagram has more than 315,000 photos, most of them uploaded during the last 24 hours during the hurricane Sandy in New York and the east coast in the USA. The vast number of images uploaded by ordinary citizens is a gold mine for news media. We have seen it before and this time it is happening again, journalists asking for permission to use photos on Instagram in their reporting.

Here are a few examples of comments on one single photo:

instagram sandy hurricane


instagram hurricane sandy new york

instagram hurricane sandy


Nordic communicators are lagging behind journalists in use of social media

PR practitioners and professional communicators at organizations and businesses are often experts in building good relations with journalists and other influencers that can help get their messages across to the target audience. Reading and monitoring traditional media has always been an essential part of the daily routines of PR professionals, we need to know who says what and where. With the strong growth in comsumption of social media, one would assume that most communicators had started to use social media by know, but according to a survey by Cision, there is still room for improvement.

Cision conducted a survey of journalists and professional communicators in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden about their attitudes to and use of social media. The survey revealed that journalists are becoming heavy users of social media such as blogs and micro blogs (like Twitter), especially in Sweden. As many as 42% of Swedish journalists and 26% of Danish journalists read blogs daily. In Norway and Finland the figure is slightly lower, 19% and 16%, respectively.

53% of Swedish journalists read blogs for research and 28% say that they blog as part of their work.


Twitter is a lot more popular among journalists in Norway and Sweden, where one in four read it daily (27% and 25%). In Finland, only 4% read micro blogs daily.

17% of Swedish journalist write on micro blogs daily. When asked “how do you work with micro blogs?”, 36% said that they monitor what is written, 36% follow interesting people, 25% publish news, 21% build relationships and 21% read for research.


Among communicators, it is more common to read blogs in Sweden and Denmark, at least on a daily basis.


Communicators in Sweden and Norway are the most frequent users of Twitter.


If we compare the use of blogs and Twitter between journalists and communcators in each country, we find that a larger percentage of journalists read blogs on a daily basis. This is quite interesting because it could signal that journalists are better connected to the blogosphere than professional communicators. And if as many as 53% of Swedish journalists read blogs for research (35% of Danish and 33% of Norwegian journalists) then communicators probably should put even more focus on building relations with bloggers.





Journalists are also more frequent readers of Twitter than communicators, with the exception of Finland. If for example 50% of Norwegian journalists read micro blogs at least weekly, why are only 32% of communicators doing the same? Shouldn’t they be out there to monitor and connect with influencers on Twitter? Well, I think so. Fortunately for communicators, there are people that they can turn to for advice, namely PR consultants (yes, people like me…). It turns out, not very suprising, that the individuals that uses social media most often are PR consultants. 52% of Swedish PR consultants read blogs daily, 50% in Norway and 35% in Finland (not enough responses in Denmark). As many as 61% of Norwegian PR consultants read Twitter daily, 34% in Sweden and 17% in Finland.



Footnote: The report Cision Social Media Survey 2010 can be downloaded here.

Tags: , , , . Ping.

Journalist blogs trump traditional articles in Google

You might think that journalist blogs are just a side-kick to their regular paper or online columns, but Google disagrees. These 13 Swedish journalists might soon be better known for their blogs than for their traditional journalistic achievements. In 11 out of 13 cases, a Google search for their names delivers their blogs as number one.

Andreas Ekström – #1
Lotta Gröning – #1
Cecilia Hagen – #1
Håkan Jacobson – #1
Linna Johansson – #3 (this blog has been up just one week, with the exception of one initial post a month ago)
Helle Klein – #1
Olof Lundh – #1
PM Nilsson – #1
Anders Nunstedt – #1
Linda Skugge – #2 (#1 is her personal webpage)
Per Svensson – #1
Ebba von Sydow – #1
Fredrik Virtanen – #1

It is a remarkable development since most of these journalists have been writing for years, but blogging only for a couple of months, or even weeks, but already blogs play the first violin in their digital repertoire. Now, a few questions arise. First, are the texts they publish on their blogs the kind of journalistic product they want to have as their primary association? Some who question the quality of these blogs would say ‘no’, although there are blogs on that list that I read with great interest. Second, is there a way to exploit this phenomenon? Of course there is, and opportunities may even be greater for the journalists than for the media.

A well written blog may even lead to a situation where “some newspaper reporters [will become] better known in some circles for their blogs than for their printed work” to quote Tim Porter. He makes a comparison between the music industry and the media industry. He claims there is a shift from ‘the music business’ to the ‘musician business’ in that consumers gladly pay 100 bucks for a concert ticket but are reluctant to pay 19 bucks for a CD. He quotes the New Yorker: “In the musician business, the assets that once made the major labels so important – promotion, distribution, shelf space – matter less than the assets that belong to the artists, such as their ability to perform live. The value of songs falls, and the value of seeing an artist sing them rises, because the experience can’t really be reproduced.”

What if the journalism business is developing into a journalist business, if journalism produces a commodity we don’t want to pay for but original writing is worth much more? He continues:

“If news is commodity, then in-depth reporting has value. If routine government coverage offers nothing but stenography, then interpretive reporting has value. If the conventions of traditional journalism produce bland and boring copy, then personality and point of view have value. If newspapers have become disconnected from community, then relationships between writer and reader have value.”

Blogs are by nature an excellent channel for building relationships, being personal and interpreting news and events. By exploiting their talents journalists can become thought leaders in their own right. So a question goes out to journalist bloggers – will you seize the opportunity to extend your brand beyond the medium who currently hires you, or are you satisfied with being the journalist who writes about taking the bike to work?

Clueless quote of the day

Blogs are just old homepages according to free-lance journalist Marie-Louise Samuelsson. From Media 8 at TV8 tonight:

Q: Vilken sorts betydelse tror du nyhetsbloggar har för den svenska journalistkåren idag?

Samuelsson: Det är överskattat nu. Det är jättehype kring bloggar men det är som sagt gamla hemsidor.

Q: What type of effect do you think that news blogs have today on Swedish journalists?

Samuelsson: It’s overrated now. There is a huge hype around blogs, but like I said, they are only old homepages.