Tag Archives: Facebook

Journalist Reform

17 Apr

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

Journalism needs reform. All of this reform begins with the ones communicating the news; journalists.

People need to be interested in the news. Not only should they be interested in what is being communicated, but also in the way it is being presented. Jonathan Stray said journalists need to make people want to get “lost” on their sites just like they do on Wikipedia and Facebook. They need to want to invest time on the sites. In other words, the news needs to be presented in an engaging way. It needs to give people the interaction they find on sites that are not news sites.

One ways Stray suggests increasing engagement is through linking. Though much of journalism does not use linking, it is vital, he said, to its survival now. It also increases transparency and credibility.

The media also has to be better at giving people what they want. Journalists must learn to read and listen to the public.

Alfred Hermida thinks journalists need to acquire more skill. It is only like this that they can become entrepreneurs of new ways to communicate stories accurately and well.

He said journalists have to stop thinking “of themselves as wanting to be broadcast journalists, or radio journalists or print journalists: increasingly it’s all the same thing.”

The role of the journalist is changing; that we know. Jonathan Hewett said: “The journalist – at least in general interest media – is no longer the privileged channel, the person who knows more than anyone else and has the contacts. That’s hard to accept. Before the internet, the journalist was an elevated gatekeeper to a world that was more or less closed to the readers.”

He also said there is great reward and potential when journalists take that extra step to engage their readers and interact with them.

Thad Mcllroy disagrees about the whole notion that reform is needed and that print is dying. He said that focusing on the U.S. alone is not enough to truly report on the state of the media.

He said: “When the U.S. media look at the changes in media consumption trends, naturally enough, they tend to focus on the United States. This is terrifically misleading. Newspapers are thriving in countries such as India and China…I say to my friends and colleagues: You should feel blessed. You are part of a revolution in how information is distributed far greater than the invention of the printing press, and certain to have more far-reaching effects.”

Whatever the case may be, the Cub Reporters website makes an excellent point: “The media isn’t the only thing changing. The world of work is changing.”

If the world is changing, the way we journalists think and present information has to change as well.

Social media values and possibilities changing the news

9 Apr

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

There is no question about it. Social media has revolutionized journalism. In some ways, some would argue it allows journalists to do or accomplish what they were already trying to accomplish, except in a more time efficient way that reaches more people.

Brenna Ehrlich said: “Journalists are, by nature, crafty folk who are wonderfully adept at stalking — I mean, finding sources and relevant information for various and sundry stories. Well, the advent of social media has made the process of reporting all the more nuanced, and has served as a vital channel for everything from finding leads to contacting sources to sharing and furthering one’s brand.”

Social media has made finding information about someone easier. Something that would have been awkward to ask may now be out in the open on Facebook. Ehrlich compares Facebook to a phonebook, except with photos and biographical information.

Social media has other advantages apart from facilitating information. It also makes it so that journalists are no longer asking questions because people are saying what they think.

In places where journalists are not allowed, people can use the Internet to broadcast their opinions or their oppression. Ehrlich mentioned Iran as an example.

Brian Stelter, a reporter for The New York Times, receives feedback on stories and polishes them through interaction with people on his Twitter and his blog. He also uses both to promote his work and create that ever desired “brand.”

The most crucial aspect of the social media tool is “engagement with the audience,” said Brian Dresher, manager of social media and digital partnerships at USA Today.

Burt Herman said: “Journalism will be more collaborative, embracing the fundamental social nature of the Internet. The story will be shaped by people involved in the news, curated by savvy editors from diverse sources and circulated back again to the audience. This is the new real-time news cycle.”

Social media has added the “personal” element into news. How “personal,” can be debated, but the point is that journalists and news organizations are taking advantage of these tools to connect with others.

“Get readers involved with your brand, engage them with their hearts and minds and the money will follow,” the CoverItLive editor said.

Dan Gillmor said there is a lot to be excited about.

“Why, given the crumbling of newspapers and the news industry in general, should we believe in abundance? Just look around,” he said. “The number of experiments taking place in new media is stunning and heartening. Entrepreneurs are moving swiftly to become pioneers in tomorrow’s news.”

With this breaking away from the monopoly of information, there is an issue with ensuring the credibility of the news media as it becomes more collaborative.

“We’ll have to instill throughout our society principles that add up to critical thinking and honorable behavior,” Gillmor said.

He said readers and participants need to be skeptical, critically think, and go out of their comfort zones. Journalists on the other hand, need to demand transparency, be fair, fact check and be independent. I find the first and last one very hard to do with this new collaborative journalism. How can you force people to be transparent and be independent when you rely on others a lot more heavily, which is what social media facilitates?

Esther Thorson and Michael R. Fancher found by using a Pew Research Center for the People and the Press study that the general audience and journalists have very different ideas about what the core values of the press should be.

If the values are different, it will be difficult for them to collaborate well together.

Matt Egan argues, “Social media is eroding core journalistic values. And whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, professional journalists are just as much to blame as flaming web trolls.”

He states that though journalists through social media are influencing a larger amount of people, they are also being influenced, and that may not be a good thing. He states this can be negative because the person influencing the news could be anyone. Anyone, means anyone.

Some are arguing that social media is destroying journalism completely; that journalists are trying to use what will end up being their demise. Robert Picard went as far as to write a piece in The Christian Science Monitor called “Why journalists deserve low pay.”

He began his piece by saying: “Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren’t creating much value these days. Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, Twittering, or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models.”

Whatever your opinion may be, one thing is certain: Social media cannot be ignored.

Richard Gordon, a professor at Northwestern University said, “Social media are changing in fundamental ways. Journalists, newsrooms and media companies ignore these changes at their peril.”

TOOLS

Google Trends and Google Correlate:

Google Trends and Google Correlate are tools that give you special insight as a journalists. They give you a peek at the mind of the reader and average person out there and what they care about or think about together.

Google Trends shows what term or reference people refer when they search, while Google Correlate helps you see what people associate with each other and search patterns.

These tools can help journalists not only figure out what to write about and what a “hot” topic is but also it serves as a tool to write SEO-friendly headlines that will be more likely to pop-up when the reader types a search into Google.

Check out my Google Trends [a] and Google Correlate [b] below.

[a]

Hispanic vs. Latino in the Google search.

[a] Latino is obviously a more popular term. One can see that it was especially used in Mexico and Spain. In the U.S., however, both are almost used interchangeable and at the same rate.

[b]

French Elections

[b]  It is neat that Google Correlate works with other languages. I tried it in French. I searched “Election Presidentielle” and it reflected the association and search pattern with “Sondages,” which means surveys or polls, which is something the French actively follow to see how the public opinion on certain candidates changes. Very cool.  🙂

Facebook: The new face of journalism

30 Mar

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

“Everyone has one,” is what most will say about Facebook. It is the place where people go to connect, create an image and check up on other people. It is a place where you can collect every face you’ve ever encountered and follow their lives, and where you can post photos you took of yourself shamelessly.

This tool that has managed to connect the planet, except for the Chinese because they have their own version of it, is seen by journalists as a platform. It is a place where they can, as The Next Web website explains, create online communities and engage readers. Facebook is not a place for breaking news like Twitter, but it can still deliver news in a timely fashion and be updated constantly, it argues.

Facebook also allows you to receive notifications, and you choose who you share certain things with. In this respect, Facebook is a lot more private than Twitter.

It has become about building relationships with people and creating dialogue. It is a platform, not only for media, but for protests and other mobilizations of groups.

Vadim Lavrusik calls Facebook a “social newspaper.” He said Facebook helps journalists build their brand, and it helps disseminate information to a large group of people. It can also help tell a story in a multi-media fashion because one can embed videos and other links.

Journalists through Facebook can ask readers questions and involve them in the process of news and provide them with extra analysis.

As a journalist, with Facebook,  you can try to reach an audience of 800 million.

Facebook continues to grow and add applications and new ways to tell stories. You can update from just about anywhere with a mobile device. There is no telling what new things could come up in the future. Things we perhaps have never thought of.

It would be neat if in the future Facebook partnered with Skype to add interaction to the medium between journalists and the readers and audience. If Facebook adds a “live TV” type element, this would further help the timeliness of news and the presentation of it on the spot.

For my blog, I have added an application available under “share” where you can share my blogs on Facebook or Twitter. I don’t have a Facebook. As clever and useful as it may be, I think it is a shallow way of interacting with people. Nothing beats being in a place with another person face-to-face.

Facebook also brings many ethical concerns. Facebook boasts privacy and protecting your profile, yet at the same time is serves as a medium to give out information and leave nothing hidden. Ethical concerns include and are not limited to: conflicts of interests with readership and “friends;” because Facebook is about real time, sacrificing quality for the speed you can spread the information; and having readers contribute and not fact checking. Another concern is that most people communicate through typing. Most of the time email communication for journalists is discouraged because it could be anyone, which undermines credibility, and one cannot distinguish tone in a written message which could make portraying something accurately a problem. Facebook is no different.

I think Facebook could compromise the key values of “acting independently” and “accuracy” in reporting. I also think it cheapens what we do. Facebook and Twitter have strived to give anyone the power to publish, and that is NOT always a good thing.

Digital involvement

28 Mar

By: Gabriela Gonzalez

We live in a day where journalists post story ideas in Google Documents and through social media, and they ask the readers for feedback. Some news rooms have an “open door policy” where people can stop by and make suggestions, and others have even set up cafes where journalists hang out and wait for the community to come by and chat.

Emily Olson, the managing editor at Register Citizen, said people stopping by doesn’t necessarily mean the conversations and suggestions are helpful.

She added, “Our time is probably what suffers more than anything, but that’s a sacrifice we have to accept.”

The sacrifice, however, is worth it because of what journalists are able to get out of this interaction with the reader.

Having journalists interact with readers through diverse media helps them get a feel as to what the community thinks is important.

Mathew Ingram said the journalist’s interaction with readers makes news an “ongoing process” rather than a finished product.

Ingram wrote about John Paton, the new head of the Media News Group newspaper chain, and a leading advocate of a “digital first” approach to publishing, who said newspapers need to change their business style if they are going to survive.

“Many newspapers continue to focus their energy on the print version, then post things to the web, which results in stories without links, and static versions of the news that don’t evolve as the story changes and new information emerges,” Ingram paraphrased.

Sports Illustrated is a publication that has successfully gone digital. According to Lauren Indvik, the Sports Illustrated digital revenue went up 22% from 2009 to 2010.

The writers have their hands full making different versions of stories. The shorter ones go on the web, and the longer ones go in the print version and tablet versions, Indvik said.

“Nothing that we do converts easily one from the next,” Senior Editor Stephen Cannella said.

Other magazines like The Atlantic have transitioned well into the digital age.

Indvik said: “In some ways, The Atlantic was primed for web journalism. The magazine had been established in the mid-nineteenth century by a group that included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Harriet Beecher Stowe, prominent American intellectuals then in the prime of their careers. In its founding statement, The Atlantic (then called The Atlantic Monthly) pledged to be ‘the organ of no party or clique, but will honestly endeavor to be the exponent of what its conductors believe to be the American idea,’ concerned with ‘Freedom, National Progress, and Honor, whether public or private.’”

It is interesting though because The Atlantic still pledges that more important than being fast and technological is the quality of the work produced by the writers at the publication.

Some advice about generating interaction and traffic from  Liz Borod Wright includes putting your website or news organization on StumbleUpon or Pinterest. She also suggests using your blog name as your username on other social media and to be “generous,” and generate conversation and traffic on other sites. They may return the favor.

It is important to engage and use social media. People are likely to find ideas or news on these websites so you might as well use them to engage and seek ways to improve or have more perspectives.

Journalists, as they report, are using social media more. Some are using Twitter and Facebook as their platforms, Lindsay Oberst said.

Justin Ellis said Facebook data shows that when journalists pose questions on Facebook when they use Facebook to blog and report, it raises reader engagement.

International Journalists’ Network3 said social media is important because, when seeking engagement, on social media sites you can find people of diverse backgrounds and locations.

Twitter has proven useful, especially with the use of the hashtag which allows people to follow certain topics.

Steve Buttry argues that if you are a disconnected journalist you cannot give the people what they need and are seeking, therefore, you must be engaged with the community. He said journalists take the Society of Professional Journalists creed of “act independently” a little too seriously, and they become detached and “aloof” to what surrounds them.

He also said it is important to have many perspectives, and also, if you include the reader in your journey to obtaining information and the process of reporting, the reader sees that you are credible.

Though it can be time consuming, a complete waste of time and sometimes pose ethical issues, connecting with readers has proven to be valuable.

It is a concept that goes along with the saying, “How can one rule the people if one does not know the people?” How can you write and hope to educate a people if you don’t know what really matters to them?

As time goes by and more news organizations adopt more platforms, reporters will not only be reporting and publishing stories from far and strange lands, but they will also be analyzing and discussing them through these same platforms.

Through social media, you can reach the world and get its opinion, literally. Once you take the time to know your community, it can show you what you should care about, and you can show it what it should care about, too.