Social Media and Journalism – Social Media Breakfast

SMBMSPAnother excellent Social Media Breakfast  – the event  offered an insightful panel Facilitated by Julio Ojeda-Zapata ; the panel included Jason DeRusha, David Brauer, Gene Rebeck, Julia Schrenkler, and Dirk DeYoung.   

Twitter is a source of stories for journalists. Journalists are also using Twitter to form relationships with interesting people… what complicates criticizing these people in the future 😉  However, the end result is still higher quality material.  

Other channels were also mentioned, but Twitter was the most prominent during the discussion. My guess – the nature of journalism is “get the story first” and Twitter as “real time” news source and search possibility fills this need perfectly.  

People not connected with reporting start “committing acts of journalism” when they try to describe interesting events for others… because “people are curious.”  

Bridge collapse was the event often mentioned during the discussion – many journalists “discovered” power of social media at that point. Social media allowed journalists follow the “story” through the images and descriptions that were posted by non-journalists. 

What can be done with social media:

  • engage
  • crowd source (including listening, getting ideas, etc.)
  • promote

Do journalists have to be involved into social media? Not necessarily. If a person has an established following, sources, and network (does not need to engage, crowd source, or promote) social media may not bring enough benefit. However, anybody new to a particular market (geographic or vertical) can benefit from the opportunity.  “Any new journalist should be there.”

One of the panelists mentioned that social media is changing the business model and forcing design, marketing, and business closer together. This development is very interesting to watch…

Question: “Is using Twitter as news source similar to using Wikipedia as a research tool?”  

Answer: yes, the information can not be totally trusted, but both sources are excellent in identifying topics for further investigation. “Is it really different from an old ‘tip line’?”

Typical approach: posting a question to social media resources… waiting for answers… writing the story about the topic using the answers. (I personally watched this scenarios evolved several times and participated in some of them trying to answer the question.)

Monetization… The panel did not quite believe that social media presented monetization opportunity… However, the presentation below (thanks to Mashable article ) gives wonderful overview of social media ROI for a business (though not a publication).

The question about the future:

The news business model is not clear now. However, “somebody would always need to ‘dig the news’ for those who will pay for them.”

Whatever happens… Social media works… if it works, it will evolve.  We can not predict the future and the question “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” no longer makes sense. Not many companies will survive long enough, everything is constantly changing – we need to embrace the change.

“If this question was asked five years ago, nobody would be able to predict that we would be at Social Media Breakfast now… “  😉

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