Using Social Media as a Journalist

Social media creates countless new ways for writers tell stories, it’s evolution has been a breath of fresh air for journalist.

We use social media to search for stories and as a way to share published work. Journalists create news packages online so they can share them directly with their audience. Friends and followers can see recent posts on their user feeds and stay updated on the day’s events.

This means that readers will not have to browse through news websites for certain stories, the reader just needs to keep an eye on their Facebook page and/or Twitter feeds.

Journalists are now able to update stories and events as they are unfolding.  Microblogging via Twitter allows users to convey messages with a 140-character limit. This began the idea of publishing stories immediately to get the word out, and then following up once more reporting has been done.

In Briggs’s book he highlights the advantages of micrblogging in the the 21st century. Journalist use social media outlets to establish a consistently growing audience where users can “like,” pages on Facebook, or follow people on Twitter to gain a better sense of what is happening in the world.

This creates more personalized news experiences for readers. We can share videos and podcast to offer our audience a glance at a story. Journalist from prominent organizations like the New York Times can construct audiences based off their news beat and share new findings with their readers. Sports writers can establish their own traffic of sports nuts that cannot get enough coverage, and war journalists can keep the public updated daily on oversea activity.

Steve Buttry shares many Twitter tips  to get journalists’ foot in the door by using this social media platform. Buttry says we can use Twitter to direct traffic to your content by the use of hashtags of breaking news content. We now have the capabilities to monitor significant events as they occur in real time, an advancement that is leading to the evolution of journalsim.

The primary rule when using social media is the to always be aware of what you post, publish, or share. When working for a news organization, journalists need to be aware of their actions. Everything journalist share has a consequence.We need to be aware of the pages we like and what we share with others. When we retweet a post we are advocating whatever that message is.

Another important rule for social media journalism is to not oversell the headlines. Before the Internet it was difficult for stories to develop, today stories are frequently followed with a sequence of articles.

For example the hoax of Manti Teo’s fake dead girlfriend spiraled out of control because of people falling in love with their headlines. Journalist let the story of Teo’s emotional season at Notre Dame get out of hand by the amount of written articles.

Social media does not negate the fact that journalists are still journalists, and their job is to make sure what they publish is 100 percent accurate.

Journalists need to be able to balance the personal/professional divide in order to use social media successfully in journalism. Journalists can be more open about their work.

That being said, journalists are expected to conduct themselves professionally over social media with no exceptions. Writers have to tolerate hateful trolls and unfavorable comments without letting emotions get the better of them. Personalized story telling will attract an audience, but professionalism will keep them coming back for more.


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