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This headline post is what journalism is looking like more and more these days. Reporters are increasingly relying on Twitter to research stories, find people and distribute their own news, according to a media panel assembled by Mashable during Social Media Week NYC.
The panel featured Jay Rosen, NYU journalism professor, NY Times tech reporter Jenna Wortham, CNNMoney’s Laurie Segall, and Drake Martinet of All Things Digital. The moderator was Vadim Lavrusik from Mashable.
Twitter has grown at an incredible speed. Just a year or two ago, journalists I queried about their use of Twitter yielded responses like “I have a twitter account but I don’t really know what to do with it so it’s just kind of sitting there”.
I myself tried desperately to hold on to my good ole reporter’s notebook, but was urged (and that’s putting it nicely) to start tweeting. It was like a foreign language that I didn’t want to learn at first. But I did and now I’m on Twitter everyday.
It’s not enough just to know what Twitter is; you have to know how to use it – hashtags, the @ symbol, DMs and all. .
“The skills journalists need to prosper are changing very quickly,” said Rosen. He says media outlets want people who can do more; hence what he teaches has evolved along with the expectations of the industry.
Rosen runs NYU’s Studio 20 graduate program that focuses on “innovation and adapting journalism to the web”. It’s all about challenging student journalists to find new approaches to journalism. A necessary change from when I was a graduate student at NYU’s j-school back in the early ‘90’s.
“I’m trying to deliver to the world of journalism people who are capable of inventing its future and that is a completely different kind of education.”
Both Wortham and Segall skipped J-school and took a more hands on approach.
“You have to be a hard worker, be egoless, don’t complain and use social media,” said Segall who figured out how to use Facebook early one as a freelancer.
“I used Facebook to find people who had the Swine Flu,” said Segall. “Now I can look at Twitter and within five minutes I can be up to date with all the news.”
As a tech reporter for the Times, Wortham reports on and uses all the social media and tech tools out there but she says nothing beats good storytelling.
“We don’t have the luxury of focusing on one area,” she told the room full of mostly aspiring journalists. “The more you know, the better you can craft your story so that readers will return and follow your work during the length of the story.”
All Things Digital’s Martinet was a speechwriter for many years before earning a Master’s in Journalism from Stanford. Now he works on making ATD more social-media friendly in addition to blogging about start-ups.
“There’s a ton of software out there that I use but the single thing that has helped me deal with information overload and aggregation and then quieting myself down enough to take it all in is I’ve started using a writer’s app on the iPad.”
And there are other tools out there that the panelists mentioned:
But perhaps the most valuable reporting resource has been there all along.
“People are my biggest tool.” Rosen says you have to know how/where to find the one person with the expertise you need. Hmmm, I happen to know an excellent experts service that helps you do just that!
Authored by Brett Simon, manager, media relations, PR Newswire.