And for freelancers or anyone else who works from home, they're also a great place to turn for advice, conversation and a bit of banter.
Here are 15 of the most active and interesting groups for journalists to check out on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Slack. We've only included free groups where the emphasis is on community and conversation, so none of these are business forums or anything that requires a fee.
It's self-defeating to try to keep track of them all – online communities should assist your job as a journalist, not prevent you from doing it – so pick two or three that are most relevant to you and focus your attention there.
Don't forget too that you can make use of daily or weekly email round-ups on platforms like LinkedIn, or use IFTTT to create your own,
Journalists on Facebook
With 1.3 million fans, the Journalists on Facebook page is one of the most established journalism communities online and a great resource for industry news and best practice tips for using the platform.
LinkedIn for Journalists
An active community featuring advice and discussion points for journalists. Also hosts a free webinar two or three times a month covering how to get story leads, build sources and engage audiences on LinkedIn. Keep an eye on the group for details of the next session.
Over on Reddit, /r/journalism has almost 9,000 members posting questions, advice, interesting links and jobs, although there's also a separate /r/journalism jobs board.
Though fairly new, Modern Journalist on Slack has almost 200 members with channels for engagement, education, web development and jobs. Request an invite here.
Another Google+ community, this time from Ezra Eeman, the man behind the popular @journalism2ls Twitter account. Launched this year, the group has a growing following of people sharing apps and tools suitable for journalists.
Started after RTÉ's recent Mobile Journalism Conference in Dublin, this Facebook group is a space for anyone to ask questions and share ideas around mobile journalism. It also organises a fortnightly 'mojo meetup' in Dublin.
A Google+ community founded by Storyful in 2013, Open Newsroom now has more than 1,100 members and focuses on verifying information from breaking news stories.
Open Data Community
Another Slack group, this is a great resource for finding open data portals and datasets provided under an open license. The 600-strong group also includes posts relating to events, mapping, and data technology and tools. Request an invite here.
The No1 Freelance Ladies’ Buddy Agency
With more than 2,000 members, this Facebook group is a place for freelancers to get support and advice on case studies and experts for stories. All members are vetted to make sure they’re genuine journalists, so you'll need to request to join.
Another Facebook group set up by journalism lecturer Susan Grossman, where 700 or so freelancers post questions, networking events, jobs. Again, this is a closed group so membership is subject to approval.
#journchat – Mondays at 8pm EST (1am BST)
One of the first news industry chats, #journchat was founded by PR expert Sarah Evans in 2008 and is open to journalists, bloggers and public relations folk.
#muckedup – Tuesdays at 8pm EST (1am BST)
Hosted by Muck Rack, this weekly chat has covered everything from social media and curation to diversity in the newsroom.
#DFMchat – Wednesdays at noon EST (5pm BST)
The Digital First Media chat is hosted by Ivan Lajara, life editor at the Daily Freeman in New York. It covers topics such as open newsrooms, crowdsourcing and user-generated content.
#wjchat – Wednesdays at 8pm EST (1am BST)
Now in its fifth year, #wjchat was founded by Robert Hernandez after he joined #journchat and felt the journalists were outnumbered by PRs. The conversation focuses on technology, ethics and digital journalism in all its forms.
#APstylechat – monthly
Once or twice a month, Associated Press holds a Twitter chat where journalists can ask questions on grammar and writing style around a particular topic. Previous chats have been hosted by AP assistant sports editor Oskar Garcia and social media editor Eric Carvin. To see upcoming chats, click here.
This is an updated version of an article which was originally published on Medium.