On October 2, Research Center “Region” presented the results of their study “Social Media as a Source of Public Information for the Armenian Media: Standards Shaped and Practice Applied” conducted in the frameworks of the project, supported by OSCE Office in Yerevan.
The study is based on a survey among 100 journalists/media executives from 50 media outlets of the country, as well as on monitoring of 9 media (6 online publications and 3 national TV channels) carried out by “Region” Center in May-June 2014.
According to the Director of the “Region” Laura Baghdasarian, Armenian journalists use Facebook for their daily communication equally often as such traditional means as telephone and email.
Most of surveyed journalists do not consider reprinting content from social media into traditional media outlets problematic. It is thought to be unacceptable only by the minority of the respondents.
Social networks are definitely seen as sources of information of public significance. Trust in information from social networks is evidential: more than two thirds of surveyed journalists repeatedly use social networks when preparing their materials.
Social networks are used as sources for exclusive information not only in respect to issues such as corruption, events in other countries but also in respect to developments in the internal politics. As a result, exclusive information on the authorities and opposition can also be “dug out” from social media, stressed Laura Baghdasarian.
According to respondents, apart from using social networks for disseminating and receiving information, journalists also use them as a feedback tool. To put it differently, media outlets where journalists work are perceived by them as less effective platforms for maintaining or expanding their own audience as well as the audience of the media they work for.
Those who believe that social media influence Armenian media positively, explain it, among others, by the fact that information circulated in social media is more prompt compared with the traditional media, which makes the latter work faster. The traditional media have consequently lost their monopoly on owning and disseminating information.
At the same time, claims that present day Armenian media are packed with so-called “fast food information from social media” are somewhat exaggerated. A two-month media monitoring by “Region” Research Center showed that in the press there was only 5% of publications based on social media content, while for TV channels the numbers were significantly lower, about 0.3%.