Thu - 18.01.2018

Survey: Editors believe UGC is valuable, particularly for driving reader engagement

Survey: Editors believe UGC is valuable, particularly for driving reader engagement

Driving reader engagement and loyalty is a bigger motivator for increased use of user-generated content than gathering additional content, WAN-IFRA and Finnish crowdsourcing service Scoopshot found, in a survey of editors of regional and national dailies, local papers and online-only sites that use UGC.

All respondents rated reader engagement and loyalty as a primary driver for increased editorial use of UGC, ahead of 71% who said that the uniqueness of the content provided was a driver. Just 14% said that the lower cost of the content was a motivating factor.

Photos are the most commonly used content, according to the survey, with all respondents using them. Nearly all (87%) use story tips and half use videos. About one third cited comments as a way readers contribute which they see as UGC.

UGC is most relevant on a local level, the survey found. Three-quarters of respondents see UGC as particularly suitable for local or hyperlocal news, and just over half believe it is particularly suited to community events. Other coverage areas which more than one third of editors cited were ‘sports’ and ‘accidents’.

All believed that UGC can add value to a publication, and 81.3% said that they see the importance of UGC increasing at their publication. One participant commented that although it is seldom “very” valuable, there are times when it is. 

The biggest concern when using material from readers was how to establish its authenticity, the survey found. Quality of images and the rights associated with them were also a significant concern.

Just one quarter of respondents believed that readers who contribute should be reimbursed financially for their efforts. This is at odds with the model that agencies like Scoopshot, French start-up Citizenside or UK-based Demotix operate, where they pay or encourage publications to pay members for using their content.

More and more news outlets are gathering content from their users, and for some such as the Guardian, it is now a key part of a strategy which sees journalism as a more open and inclusive process. For others such as Al Jazeera, UGC has been essential for providing more complete coverage when their reporters are unable to. UGC is never intended to replace professional journalism, but if used intelligently it can not only supplement coverage but also, as the survey suggests, help to create more loyal, engaged readers who feel they have more of a stake in the publication.


Emma Goodman


2012-09-25 09:24

Shaping the Future of the News Publishing

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