More than half of Twitter users in the UK follow a news organisation and a similar proportion are following the tweets of individual journalists, according to new research highlighting the importance users place on news.
The study commissioned by Newsworks, a body backed by most of the major national newspaper publishers in the UK, found 59 per cent of Twitter's 15 million UK users follow newspaper accounts.
Almost half of those surveyed (49 per cent) follow at least one journalist and, of those who follow news on Twitter, three-quarters said they followed a newspaper brand other than their favourite title.
Newsworks chief executive Rufus Onlins said: "This joint research project with Twitter has helped us get under the skin of what we instinctively knew was a special relationship between newsbrands and Twitter. They have become interdependent and mutually beneficial.
"We are immersed in news. We want to be the first to know and also to be guided by expert insight and interpretation. The combination of newsbrands and Twitter helps keep us informed and opinionated. The insights from this study show that Twitter and newsbrands are most definitely stronger together."
The study, based on 1,266 UK Twitter users in December, looked at how people were using the social network and the role of news brands.
It was based on YouGov's database of Twitter users by country, and was followed by telephone and video interviews.
The results were revealed yesterday afternoon at an event in London attended by Twitter's managing director Bruce Daisley, Sunday Times editorial director Eleanor Mills and BBC Radio 4's The World at One editor Nick Sutton.
Daisley said: "People come to Twitter because it is live, public and conversational. This makes it a great place to follow breaking news and connect directly with news organisations and journalists.
"But while people discover news on Twitter, they rely on news organisations to provide more context and analysis. It is great to see the symbiotic relationship between Twitter and newsbrands confirmed by this piece of research."
Among the most followed UK news brands on Twitter:
@Guardiantech – 2,140,000
@Guardian – 1,970,000
@TimesFashion – 1,620,000
And UK journalists:
@henrywinter – 652,000
@CaitlinMoran – 490,000
@danwootton – 276,000
Press Gazette is currently polling its Twitter followers to find the best reporter on the social media network. Vote using the Twitter hashtag #SMJA (Social Media Journalism Awards), or via the web form available here.