Social Media Revolution: What this means for Journalists
By Melissa Terlizzi
Due to the invasion of social media, journalism has evolved far past the traditional form. People used to read the paper in the morning and watch television at night to consume their daily news. As people gain access to more content as well as the power to create content that spreads, traditional journalism is shifting from being controlled and regional to an ongoing dialogue between journalists and the general public. In the past decade, traditional journalism has rapidly been replaced and supplemented by social media.
Twitter is a useful tool for news organizations. Journalists use it throughout the day to find breaking stories, share news and talk with one another. However, some journalists see Twitter as just another thing to do during their already long days. Journalists who do not adjust to the rapidly changing technological environment usually fall through the cracks. According to Marty Baron, editor of The Boston Globe, “A lot depends on the quality of the story and the quality of the storyteller. People involved in social media are involved in storytelling.”
It may be easier for traditional journalists to communicate with their readers and get story leads, but they must now come to terms with a career that involves several different roles. Multimedia stories require additional skills from journalists but provide readers with more choices to interact and be informed. Readers now can read the article, watch the supplemental video, listen to sound clips taken at the scene and view pictures all thanks to the Internet.
People today demand their news short, sweet and immediately. Twitter makes this possible and manageable. Mallary Tenore lists ten ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story. One: by linking from your account, stakeholders will see your story. Two: Twitter starts conversations with people and journalists should take advantage of this opportunity. Three: social media gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the reporting process. Four: it’s necessary to keep up with sources and find new ideas. Five: find and capture reactions, journalists serve the public so they are your most important critics. Six: find local sources to connect with your community. Seven: dig up the past and connect it to new information. Eight: help your audience keep track of an ongoing story. Nine: turn investigations into collaborative storytelling efforts. Ten: build your credibility. Misinformation can spread quickly on Twitter so it’s important for journalists to debunk incorrect information and only tweet information you’ve verified.
While social media has certainly created more barriers to finding and promoting high quality content, it has also created the opportunity for citizens to engage with journalists around issues that matter to them. Journalists should use these Twitter techniques to further their connection with the public.