Social media’s rise in professional journalism

The past two summers I’ve worked with a woman who owns a public relations business, working largely with authors and small business owners. Part of the work I did for her was to help manage social media for her clients–writing and scheduling tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc. Additionally, I have currently found myself in the position of managing three Twitter accounts, a blog and a Facebook group page separate from my own account. For someone who claims to be quite ignorant of new technology and social media, there seems to be more of it in my life than I realized. With that realization, while I would love to think that I am using these forms of social media well, I know I am not. Especially after the Skype chat with WGN Chicago’s Nancy Loo during J2150 lecture this week, I know I am not using the social networks I am a part of to their full potential, and on top of that, there are so many more social media forms than I am using or of which I was even aware.

I am slowly beginning to get better at incorporating some of the techniques Loo mentioned in her lecture on Twitter and Facebook, but as for the other social networks that I am not using (e.g., Foursquare, Storify), I’ve decided to continue looking into them and find ways to begin using them, adding them to my journalism arsenal as I develop professionally. Even if I do not begin using more social networks to build an online brand just yet, I would like to stay more informed of emerging and new networks and how they can be used by journalists.

Wanting to find more examples of how professional journalists use social media, I went searching on the Internet. SustainableJournalism.org created a list of 15 instances of journalism and social media coinciding, claiming them “examples worth learning from.”

“Journalism and Social Media: 15 Examples Worth Learning From”

Included on the list are The New York Times using Instagram during coverage of Hurricane Irene and Reuters reporting on the London riots through Storify.

I also found this report interesting: “How Mainstream Media Outlets Use Twitter.”  It is a study of the Twitter feeds of 13 major news organizations conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. Though it is from late 2011 and the data has surely changed (possibly quite drastically considering how instantaneous social media is, not to mention continually growing), I think it provides an informative look at how prominent news organizations utilize a social network like Twitter, with reports on everything from how often they tweet to their use of hashtags.

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