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Use of Net by Business Journalists Is "Almost Universal"

According to a new study by Global Financial Communication Network (GFC Net), the use of the Internet by business and financial journalists is now "almost universal," with 95 percent using the Net for news and information.

For the study, interviewers contacted 117 business and financial journalists in the world's leading financial centres -- Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, London, New York, Brussels, Paris and Frankfurt -- and discovered that 58 percent use the Internet several times a day for research.

"The research demonstrates that the Internet is already having a significant effect on the way journalists work and this trend looks set to accelerate," said Ron Finlay, director of Fishburn Hedges, a London-based PR company that is a member of GFC Net.

"As competition increases among media titles, those journalists who have not already got to grips with the Internet will be under increasing pressure to do so in order to stay ahead of their rivals in sourcing news," added Finlay.

"We are already beginning to see news web sites breaking news to an international audience ahead of the daily papers, and this, in turn will put pressure on companies and their public relations advisers to speed up their supply of news information to the media."

The study found that UK journalists were "the least likely" to use the Internet more than once a day, with only 36 percent of them doing so -- compared with 74 percent in Belgium, 63 percent in Hong Kong and 60 percent in France and the United States.

However, UK journalists were more likely than others to favour receiving press information by e-mail, with 55 percent expressing a preference for e-mail. By contrast, journalists in the U.S. suffer from "e-mail overload" and only 30 percent cited e-mail as their preference.

Other intriguing findings included the statistic that 80 percent of journalists worldwide have their work published on the Internet as well as in paper-based publications; Belgian and Japanese journalists say they "never visit Web sites for their own leisure" -- and French journalists rarely reveal their e-mail addresses to PR contacts.

Further details about the study, entitled "Business News in Cyberspace," are available from GFC Net.