Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Asia Pacific Report

INDONESIA: Social media popular in newsrooms, new survey shows

Facebook has 47 million users in Indonesia, placing it fourth worldwide in total number of Facebook users. Image: AFP Photo/Karen Bleier.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Item: 8309

Abdul Qowi Bastian
JAKARTA (Pacific Media Watch / The Jakarta Globe): Eight out of 10 Indonesian journalists use social media to find story ideas and data for their news reports, while they also plunge into social media to gauge public opinion and monitor particular issues, a new survey has found according to The Jakarta Globe

The survey, released by communications consultant Maverick Indonesia and Paramadina University, interviewed 363 journalists in a variety of roles and locations across Indonesia.

The objective of the “Indonesian Journalists Technographics Report 2012/2013,” according to Maverick technical advisor Ong Hock Chuan, was to find out if social media could influence mainstream media, and how it affects news production.

“The results of our research show that social media plays an increasingly significant role in influencing public discourse,” Paramadina University rector Anies Baswedan said.

The latest data from shows Indonesia’s 47 million users put the country fourth in terms of the number of Facebook users worldwide.

The survey found that Indonesian journalists engaged with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Some 47 percent participated actively in spreading information via social media, while the rest occupied a more passive role, consuming and collecting information online.

This proportion of journalists highly engaged in social media is high compared to several Western countries — Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Sweden and the United States — where the proportion averaged less than 40 percent, according to a study done by media company Cision and Britain’s Canterbury Christ Church University in 2012.

The local survey found that 92 percent of Indonesian journalists use social media to build relations with new people.

This map shows the proportion of Facebook users per country. Image:

Breaking news
The research found that journalists used social media to report breaking news because newsrooms were ill-suited to sharing details of breaking stories quickly. 

Natural disasters across the archipelago fostered citizen journalism across Indonesia, highlighting their ability to report breaking news in places without professional reporters.

“This is where journalists get the advantage of uploaded pictures on social media. … For instance, we obtained images of the Lion Air incident from a social media user,” respondent Wayan Eka Putra, Metro TV news service manager, said, referring to the water landing of an aircraft in Bali last month.

Although a majority of Indonesian journalists use social media in their daily workflow, the study found social media is only used as a supporting tool, with 78 percent of respondents still preferring traditional media as their reference.

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