This week in web publishing we cover three key areas: social media, magazines and Wisconsin.

Journalists and Social Media Research

A national survey of journalists found that a majority of them routinely utilize social media sources when researching stories.

The online survey, conducted during September and October of 2009 by the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University, reported that 56 percent of the 371 print and web journalists surveyed said that social media was important or somewhat important for reporting and producing stories.

Of those who use social media, 89 percent said that they use blogs for their online research. Linkedin and Facebook were not as likely to be used as research, but more than half of the journalists reported using Twitter in their research.

As journalists are wont to do, even though the trend toward using social media, they reported a high distrust of information from social media. Which is good, indicating that their research is all encompassing and not resting solely on a few single tweets.

Ultimately, the research indicates that we may see increased use of varied tools like social networking and microblogging by journalists as well as public relations professionals in the years to come.

Newsstand Sales Decline

Bad news for magazine and newspapers sales: newsstand sales and subscriptions declined in the last six months of 2009. But that’s not as bad as in past years. For the almost 500 consumer magazines in the United States measured by the Audit Bureau of Circulations, newsstand sales declined 9.1 percent, to US$ 39.3 million, in the last half of 2009 versus the same period a year earlier.

Although newsstand sales are a small percentage of most magazines’ circulation, they still remain pretty profitable. Newsstand copies usually cost more than a subscription copy does. Overall circulation, including subscriptions, fell as well, declining 2.23 percent, a sharper decline than in the last two six-month periods.

Wisconsin Saves the Newspaper

Good news for newspapers in Wisconsin. According to a recent industry study, nearly 62 percent of adults in Wisconsin have read a newspaper in the last day and nearly 83 percent have read one in the previous week.

The survey of 1,200 state residents found the share of weekly readers of newspapers in the state was higher than the national average of 74 percent. It also showed that showed that newspapers continue to lead the Internet in nearly all categories for readers seeking local news and information on products being sold in their communities.

That’s not to say that Wisconsin residents don’t go online. The results showed that a large share of state residents prefer going on the Web for information related to tourism and job openings.