Social networking grows in stature at TV stations, survey finds

Social networking at local TV stations has taken on new significance over the past year as broadcasters integrate it into their online presence and their storytelling.

According to the RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2009, 76 percent of stations responding the survey said they have added social media to their websites, while 68 percent are integrating social media into their storytelling.

Findings from the 2008 survey revealed that 36 percent of TV stations surveyed had not engaged social media as part of their communications strategy, said survey director Bob Papper, professor and journalism chairman at Hofstra University. However, the latest survey found that percentage had dropped to less than 9 percent last year.

Nearly 40 percent of TV stations surveyed said their newsroom has a Facebook page, and 36 percent said their newsrooms were “constantly” active on Twitter.

Social networking was being used to interact with viewers by promoting newscasts and station activities, with 124 relying on Twitter, 116 using Facebook and eight relying on MySpace, Papper said.

Another popular use of Twitter and Facebook for stations was developing story ideas, leads and contacts.

More than a dozen news directors noted efforts to get viewer feedback and comments, and several also noted requests for viewer pictures on those social media platforms.