#ALJ710 Journalists are getting social

There is immense pressure on Journalists these days to be able to do it all.  Not only are they expected to competently write dense, feature articles, it is expected that they film and edit their own content and now- confidently handle the many new social media platforms that are thrust upon them (and us!) almost daily.

As to the notion of scoops and breaking news, a lot of tips or leads these days are from the web or what’s “trending” in social networks like Twitter. (Alejandro, 2010)

News these days is now being broken on social media, with tips and scoops coming from platforms such as Twitter.  Gone are the days of journalists having the time to form a full story.  We as an audience are determining how and when we get our news and because of this journalists are having to pick up the pace.  The risk of waiting means that journalists may be out-scooped by competitors or, even worse- a citizen journalist!

Check out a podcast I recorded of examples of how Twitter has been used to break major news stories from around the world.

What’s the problem with social media as a breaking news form?

The concern is, if anyone can break the news on social media- who are we to believe?

This new style of ‘citizen journalism’ can be a double edged sword at times and one of the clearest recent examples of this occurred on the site Reddit, as the search for the Boston Bombing suspect was taking place. Because of unchecked facts, a manhunt for the wrong man – who eventually wound up being found dead from an apparent suicide – began. (DeMers, 2013)

How can Journalists avoid making this mistake?

Verify, verify, verify
Aside from using reverse image searches. Steve Buttry (2013) wrote a comprehensive blog post on the ways in which Journalists can verify information from social media. He suggests the following:

  • Check the time of the tweet.
  • Check for photos that help validate the story.
  • Check the location of the user.
  • Check previous tweets to fill in the gaps in a story.
  • Attempt to connect with the user (phone, email) to validate information.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so check out the link for helpful tips from Buttry.

It is a journalist’s role to ensure that any information is fact-checked and verified before release.  But it’s clear that this does not always happen .


References:

Alejandro, J 2010, ‘Journalism in the age of Social Media’, Reuters Institute Fellowship Paper, University of Oxford, retrieved 23 August 2016, retrieved from : < https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Journalism%20in%20the%20Age%20of%20Social%20Media.pdf >

DeMers, J 2013, ‘How Social Media Is Supporting a Fundamental Shift in Journalism’, The Huffington Post, weblog post, retrieved 23 August 2016, < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jayson-demers/how-social-media-is-suppo_b_3239076.html >

Buttry, S 2013, ‘How to verify information from tweets: Check it out’, The Buttry Diary, weblog post, retrieved 20 August 2016, < https://stevebuttry.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/how-to-verify-information-from-tweets-check-it-out/ >

 

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#ALJ710 Journalists living for live streaming

I remember the first time I heard about live streaming. It was about 18 months ago and I was walking in a runway over in London.  As we walked out for the finale a lady in the front row- her face shielded by her phone yelled out “Do something exciting, you’re on my Periscope!” I later found out that a couple thousand people tuned in to see my stunned mullet face in that moment. Nearly two years later- and it’s difficult to avoid hearing about live streaming apps and their worldwide domination.

 The benefit of live streaming for celebrities and social media influencers is clear, but how does this platform assist journalists?

Trendkite (2016) explains that the immediacy is one of the big factors.  Journalists are able to pick up the camera and begin filming through their app of choice, almost as soon as they get wind of a story.  They can forget about lugging around expensive filming equipment and time consuming post production editing- live streaming is not so much about the look of the piece- but the content itself. Rod Atkins from the BBC  explains that more often than not, content is lead by comments and questions from the audience.

I go in with a single big idea I’m interested in hearing the audience’s views on. That way, the content is 100 percent led by the issues they raise. (Atkins, 2016)

Trendkite also explains that the technology itself provides helpful insights such as followers and views to determine the success of engagement.

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Twitter’s Periscope App TODAY Show NBC by Anthony Quintano. (CC BY 2.0)

So how could it go wrong?

As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts from my Social Media unit, the issue is that anyone with a smart phone and an internet connection can now attempt to take on the role of trained journalists. Trendkite explains that it’s just about working harder than the citizens to ensure that they are adding value and credibility. The downside to the immediacy of live-streaming means that journalists don’t necessarily have the time to fact check everything before they go to air.

As events and stories unfold instantly without giving sufficient time to synthesize information and compose quality work, journalists will have to adapt and learn what is essentially a new skill. Reporters have always had to balance the need to get information out quickly with the need to get it right, but with live streaming they’ll be doing it in real-time and without a net. (Trendkite, 2016)

Once again journalists must be willing to change with the times- adopting the use of various tech tools as they are released to avoid getting left behind and conquered by the new wave of “try-hard journo’s” with an iPhone.


References:

Unknown, 2016, ‘How Live Streaming Platforms Are Changing Journalism‘, Trendkite, weblog post, 29 March, 19 September 2016, < http://www.trendkite.com/blog/how-live-streaming-platforms-are-changing-journalism >

Davies, J 2016, ‘Six months in: What the BBC has learned using Facebook Live’, Digiday UK, weblog post, 9 June, 19 September 2016, < http://digiday.com/publishers/six-months-bbc-learned-using-facebook-live/ >