Archive for the ‘Community Engagement’ Category


Community engagement in the form of public news meetings

News as we know it is changing, shifting — and hopefully — becoming even more robust. From social media to the Apple Watch, the means by which we receive our news is also constantly changing. One thing that won’t change in the way we gather and receive news is the importance of community engagement.

Without a community of some sort, news can’t exist. There would be no target audience, no local events and most importantly, no input about what is being covered and how by news organizations everywhere.

A recent Q & A done by the International Journalists’ Network about engaging your community via social media got me to think about all the opportunities journalists now have to give and receive feedback digitally with the audiences they serve in their respective communities. But what if tech isn’t the only way to move community news engagement forward?

The Indianapolis Star held its very first public news meeting on Friday at a local coffee shop here in Indy. Here was their intent for the meeting according to their Facebook invite:

“We want to hear what matters to you.

Join the IndyStar news team for Coffee+News as we hold our morning news meeting — in public — at 10 a.m. Friday at Hubbard and Cravens, 4930 N. Pennsylvania St., and join in on the conversation.

Share your story ideas, let us know what matters most to you in our community and meet the people behind the news.

At the very least, have a cup of coffee on us.”

So, I went. I was curious to see the turn out, the vibe, who came, who participated and what staff and attendees had to say.

Overall my initial thoughts had to do with the overcrowded room and the loud coffee shop, but the overcrowded problem is a good problem to have when a news organization seeks community engagement and opinion. More is more. The loud coffee shop problem is just the result of underestimating the number of attendees who were going to show up and only reserving a small room in a rather busy establishment.

Regardless of the logistics, the meeting was interesting. It began with the Indy Star staff being introduced (the staff filling up a lot of the room space making the ratio 2 staff members to every 1 community attendee) and going through what they had planned for the day and the weekend’s news budget. Other than a story about a stage collapsing at a local high school, most of the topics at that point in their news process were filler content, but talking through their thought processes about how they decided what stories to cover, when and how was informative. Kind of a yawner, though. At least for people who are educated in or at least have a small idea of how a newsroom makes content decisions. But, in the spirit of transparency, I guess it was needed.

Then came the comments. The floor was opened up for “audience members” to contribute thoughts, suggestions and ideas for the staff to take into consideration. None of the input really had to do with the weekend’s news coverage. Instead, there was a little bit of agenda pushing about past coverage and future coverage — mainly concerning political issues. Yes, there were a few constructive suggestions about covering more entertainment and sports topics, but not a lot that were of value.

What was of value was the newsroom getting outside of the newsroom. The staff being able to engage with the community face-to-face was invaluable. The community, in this specific room, ranged from early 20 year-olds to late 70 year-olds all with various reasons for attending, from concerned citizen to political candidate pushing.

I talked with Jeff Taylor, the Star’s executive editor and vice president, after the meeting and asked him why they wanted to hold this meeting, something that isn’t done by a lot of news organizations, to which he replied, “Why not give people a chance to see us, be transparent, see how we conduct our news meetings, see what our thought process is and give people a chance to weigh in and ask questions?”

He said the end goals of the meeting for them were:

1. To make themselves visible and accessible to the public

2. To get story ideas and input

3. To give people a chance to tell them what they think about how they do their jobs

Did the Indy Star get some story ideas from the meeting? Possibly. Did those in attendance get a platform to vent frustrations they had with the news organization and praise what they perceived as triumphs? Yes. But, the real benefit at this event was the opportunity it presented — personal community engagement and access.

I think it is worth it for the Indy Star, and other news organizations for that matter, to try it again. Maybe change the location, maybe make it more of an open forum for a conversation rather than an actual news budget meeting, but one thing I wouldn’t change is the opportunity for the personal involvement it gave the public.

Social media is great. I am obsessed, professionally and personally. But, call me old-fashioned, it will never be a substitute for the value that comes when news organizations have face-to-face discussions with who they are serving on a daily basis.

“This really helps make us better journalists and makes us think how people perceive what we do, how people perceive what we write,” Taylor said.

Taylor Carlier Headshot

Taylor Carlier | Photo credit: Matt Thomas

Taylor Carlier is the communications coordinator at the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a 2014 Purdue University graduate of Mass Communication: Journalism and previously was the special projects editor at The Exponent. She can be reached at tcarlier@spj.org or on Twitter at @Taylorcarlier.

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Nov. 6: A journalism case study

On Election Day, I sat as a spectator in the arena of journalism, eager to watch unprecedented news coverage unfold. “The first social election,” some called it.

I knew I wouldn’t catch everything, and I certainly didn’t, but my goal on Nov. 6 was to document the election from journalists’ perspectives. My observations are just that — trends I saw among hours of online coverage, which I consumed from one tiny computer monitor with one set of eyes. Given my resources, there’s nothing scientific in my analysis. Nonetheless, I think it has value.

My method: Monitor journalists’ and news outlets’ Twitter feeds, Facebook posts and Instagram activity; check related RSS feeds; repeatedly expand the sample size by exploring others’ Twitter lists, seeking impressionable accounts through Topsy and Hashtracking and browsing news sites to identify election reporters; finally, Storify as much as possible.

After less than an hour of this, I formed four sections within SPJ’s Storify “Journalists on Election Day”: “resources and tips,” “status updates,” “election coverage” and “just for fun.” Nearly everything I collected fit one of these categories, though some could have gone in more than one. It’s amazing what people can fit into a post of 140 or fewer characters.

Twitter was my most plentiful resource. I collected information from more than 180 accounts and learned a lot from the posts I read.

On perhaps the greatest day for civic duty in the U.S., journalists provided a variety of public services. They posted photos of polling places, sent updates of wait times in voting lines, posted links to voting resources and giving citizens multiple ways to access election results. I saw a great effort from journalists to communicate with their audiences.

In terms of election coverage, journalism impressively embraced interactive graphics and (gasp) math. In the four newsrooms I’ve worked, in the scores of conversations I’ve had with reporters, I’ve heard few kind words for math. (And I majored in English writing, so I’m guilty of cringing at math, too.)

“I do words, not numbers.”

“Well, I’m bad at math, so I chose writing.”

You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it (I’ve said it), but that doesn’t mean journalists don’t understand the importance of math — there are plenty of journalists who like math, even love it. But after Election Day, its significance has never seemed clearer. I won’t rehash the commentary from dozens of articles on Nate Silver, but if the emergence of data journalism hasn’t motivated reporters and editors to prioritize data literacy, Election 2012 should.

Ethical debates have gained momentum as a result of the election and use of social media. Instagram use among journalists has great advantages in serving consumers, and it also encourages impressive citizen journalism. The New York Times boasted an impressive collection of readers’ Instagrams on Election Day, too. But the use of Instagram’s editing features and its impact on photojournalism remains a debated ethical issue.

Even ethical topics with deep history, like whether journalists should vote, sparked fervent interactions on social media. It’s more than just voting, though, as journalists frequently take to the Internet with their political commentary and opinions.

Speaking of commentary: The “just for fun” and “status updates” segments of the Storify are, at least from my perspective, highly entertaining. Among the more serious messages like those urging others to vote and describing polling-place atmosphere, you can find many a funny message about caffeine, pizza and the inevitable system failures before a deadline.

As election returns poured in, I scaled back my rate of aggregation, first because this expected coverage didn’t add much value to the Storify and second because I could hardly keep up. What I noticed was an increase in care and accurate reporting from other breaking news that has emerged on Twitter (Hurricane Sandy, the SCOTUS decision on the Affordable Care Act). Perhaps this is indicative of a maturing digital media.

Despite the limits of my journo-tracking, this sample displayed many trends in breaking-news coverage, and I hope news organizations reflect on Election 2012 as they consider how to best deliver journalism amid industry and technology advances. Major news events double as learning opportunities, and journalists need to capitalize on them, specifically this one.

 

Journalists: What did you learn on Election Day? How will this year’s election coverage impact your approach to planning, reporting and editing? If you wish to weigh in, please engage with this discussion on our Facebook page, or send me an email. I may quote you in a future blog post.

Christine DiGangi is the communications coordinator at SPJ headquarters. She graduated from DePauw University and has worked in journalism and communications. Connect with Christine through email, cdigangi@spj.org, or Twitter, @cdigang.

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Social Media Weekend: A worthwhile venture – and hashtag

@scottleadingham

What’s the power of a Twitter hashtag?

It can inform and help us see revolution literally before our eyes (e.g. #Jan25 for the Egyptian revolution). It can curate the angst, joy, jeers and cheers of a nation (e.g. #SOTU for the State of the Union). It can bring together a professional community for sharing and learning (e.g. #wjchat for the weekly Web journalism chat).

As I recently found, it can also change your mind for the better.

Columbia Journalism School’s Continuing Education office hosted its second Social Media Weekend Jan. 27-29 in New York. Perhaps you ran across the hashtag #smwknd in your weekend Twitter usage.

It’s an obscure hashtag on the surface. But as hashtag best practices go, it’s incredibly well conceived – short, to the point, reflective of the event’s name and content.

I came across #smwknd at this time last year, when the first conference happened. It was in a tweet from Columbia journalism professor and dean of student affairs Sree Sreenivasan that caught my eye. Sree is to social media training and modern digital journalism education as chickpeas are to hummus: the most essential ingredient. (If you don’t keep up with Sree on Twitter, you should. Like right now. Click here. Now.)

Unfortunately I couldn’t attend in 2011. But I’ll admit I was skeptical at the time whether a full weekend conference on social media would hold my attention. That’s not to suggest I felt in early 2011 – nor do I now – that I know everything there is to know about social media. Quite the opposite. I still struggle sometimes to explain to friends and family the full value of social media in their lives and its connection to journalism.

But even early last year I had seen enough program proposals, conference panels, webinar descriptions, etc. on social media to think the content and quality of social media education had reached a zenith.

However, knowing that Columbia produces some of the best and most digitally savvy journalists and media professionals, I figured it would be a worthwhile venture. It was.

(Plus it gave me an excuse to visit a good friend in New York, David Hoang, who in 2008 put me in front of a computer and literally forced me to join Twitter. “Everyone in journalism needs to be on here,” David told me. He’s a Web designer and artist.)

Below are thoughts on what I learned from Social Media Weekend. I’m sure the experience was different for each person, and what’s true for the journalism industry geek isn’t necessarily true for the marketing professional or technology reporter.

(I won’t duplicate the very comprehensive efforts of conference organizers and Columbia j-students to summarize and curate content from the weekend. See all that, including useful Storify roundups by Mohammed Ademo, at the Social Media Weekend site.)

1) Updates in social media – particularly Twitter – are brief moments in time and history. Make the time count.

I’ve long tried to avoid back-and-forth Twitter conversation that read like a drawn-out text message exchange. There is, after all, a direct message feature for a reason.

However, I’ve had to reconcile that with the notion that social media are, well, social for a reason. The idea that Twitter is conversational and therefore different than a top-down we report/you read approach is one I embrace. Indeed, community engagement is important for a reason, and one way people are engaged is by active participation and response. So, the philosophy for my own usage and for @spj_tweets is Goldilocks-esque: Engage with a few back-and-forth tweets, but not too many. Take it elsewhere (direct messages, email, phone call) if you need deeper conversation.

I still think that’s a worthwhile approach. However, something Sree said was illuminating:

 

There are all kinds of Twitter users, from comedians who tweet one-liners like it’s their job to those who spend Sundays ranting, almost obsessively, about a certain Denver Broncos quarterback.

All contribute to the ever-expanding index of digital information tracked by Google and, with Twitter, the Library of Congress. This isn’t to say that every tweet should wax poetic on the philosophy of the human condition. But as Sree points out: Social media updates only reach a small amount of those with whom we’re connected, yet they’ll live on in the annals of digital history – accessible, memorable, researchable. Would you rather have your social media footprint lead others to believe you helped spread knowledge and information – or that you hated a guy named Tim Tebow for some unknown reason?

 

2) Not everyone at your news outlet or non-profit or business needs to actively use social media for professional purposes. But everyone should be trained, encouraged and empowered to do so.

Part of this thinking stems from a session titled “Social Media & Social Good: What the Best Nonprofits and Social Enterprises Can Teach Us.” Former journalist Jim Rosenberg, head of online communications and social media for the World Bank, made a good point:

I could go on incessantly about why all journalists need to use Twitter, no matter their position, beat, etc.

But the larger point is this: If an organization (and I use the term broadly to include news outlets, businesses, non-profit orgs, etc.) uses social media, all employees need to know the essentials: Why, how and for what end?

This isn’t to say all employees need to have the keys to your company’s Twitter account. No, absolutely not. However, everyone should be aware and knowledgeable of why and how you use social media to achieve your desired ends, whether they are gathering and reporting public-interest journalism or marketing your social good non-profit.

Benefits of this:

– You have a “line of succession” of people who know how to use social media within the confines of your organization’s standards. If only one person contributes to social media and that person suddenly leaves or is unavailable, who will take over? Large journalistic institutions to small business startups should have a plan.

– Other people are encouraged to contribute to the operation of the organization and bring fresh perspectives on how to use social media.

– People learn to appreciate the work of the “social media editor” or “community engagement director” or other communications-related role as an integral part of what the organization does. How many people in your organization still inaccurately think a social media editor “just gets paid to use Twitter all day”? There’s an easy way to change that: Show people why that’s not true, and encourage them to see why by testing the value of social media for their own positions and professional development.

 

3) Whatever you’ve already learned (about social media or any job skill) it’s not enough.

And in most cases, the best way to learn more is to interact and engage with other people who know more than you and/or challenge your viewpoints. Conferences are good places to do that.

Another place to do that is through the very medium – in this case Twitter – in which you’re hoping to improve.

 

There’s no magic number of Twitter followers to following radio, and it does seem impractical that The York Times would follow the same amount or more than the 4.3 million (as of this writing) people/accounts following it. (Note: I hesitate in writing the term “follow,” as I’ve written before about why it’s wise to avoid it.)

But Sree’s point, one with which I agree, is well taken: There is a near bottomless pool of insight, resources and education floating in social media. (And there is admittedly a lot of useless noise, of course.) You will benefit from continually seeking out, learning from and interacting with those who offer diverse points of view.

So, was Social Media Weekend time well spent? Yes, absolutely. Should you consider attending this event (or others) in the future? I’d recommend it, which is something I can only do having experienced it in person:

Scott Leadingham is editor of Quill magazine. If you’re so inclined, you can join him in discussing, sharing and commenting on journalism and media issues on Twitter: @scottleadingham.

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HOORAY FOR US! SPJ reached 9,000 Twitter ‘followers’! (Why we or you shouldn’t care)

Yesterday SPJ reached 9,000 “followers” on Twitter. (And there’s a reason “followers” is in quotes. Hang on for that.)

A nice amount, sure, considering it’s roughly the number of members SPJ had for much of the past 10 years. (Membership is closer to 8,000 now.)

It’s also, as it happens, completely arbitrary. I don’t care about it, and it’s kind of my job to care.

Don’t get me wrong: SPJ is always striving to broaden its audience in all media – whether that audience is composed of members, other journalists, or just interested citizens and organizations. And, of course, we do hope people will continually seek information and training from SPJ – through Twitter or whatever means.

But focusing on pure numbers is odd, distracting and silly. It’s a fool’s errand to use “follower” and “like” counts as true metrics of an organization’s (news outlet or otherwise) reach, influence or value. Klout score be damned.

I admit to writing a somewhat snarky tweet to mark our 9,000th “follower”:

The intended lesson was twofold:

1) An obsession with attracting more “followers” (and related verbiage for Facebook and other social platforms) is overblown and overdone – by news outlets and individuals.

2) “Followers” is a condescending, obtuse term (unfortunately the default word used by Twitter).

The subsequent tweet (less snarky, I hope) was this:

 

The link in that tweet led to a December 2010 post titled “Can you really engage a community by telling them to ‘follow’ and ‘like’ you?”

A set-up question, for sure. The presupposed answer: No, absolutely not.

If SPJ had an official social media policy, that would be it. (Along with the simple yet critical “Don’t be stupid” advice others have recommended as the guiding light for social media usage at news organizations.)

If not our official policy, it’s a cornerstone philosophy.

Also a part of that philosophy: Don’t use social media “engagement” in a veiled attempt to boost your counts on Twitter, Facebook or the like.

I won’t drag anyone or any outlet through the mud, but you’ve likely seen the appeals. Something to the tune of: “PLEASE HELP US REACH 10,000 FOLLOWERS. WE’RE ALMOST THERE! AND DON’T FORGET TO ‘LIKE’ US ON FACEBOOK.”

Two observations:
1) Preach to the choir much?

2) Get over yourself.

Take a moment to answer this: If you beg people to interact with or pay attention to you, is that an even relationship? Have you truly built a community?

Without an engaged community, how much value does your message really have?

Answer: Zero.

Now that’s a number you should take to heart.

Note: Thanks to Joe Skeel and Abby Henkel for input on this post.

Scott Leadingham is editor of SPJ’s Quill magazine. Interact with him on Twitter: @scottleadingham.

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FREE ‘Write More Good’ giveaway – just tell us your #jpeeve

Today, the “Bureau Chiefs” of @FakeAPStylebook fame released their phony yet astoundingly humorous writing guide, “Write More Good,” making them another go-to source for satirizing journalism.

SPJ’s Quill magazine recently featured an interview with @FakeAPStylebook founders Ken Lowery and Mark Hale. Read more on their inspirations, advice and what they have to say about Charlie Sheen coverage.

We want to get in on their action, too, so SPJ is offering you a chance to win a copy of “Write More Good!”

What’s the Contest?
We want to know your journalism pet peeve (or #jpeeve on Twitter). This is your chance to tell us what irks you most about the news. Is it blatant disregard for AP style? A bad pun or headline you’ve read? Your local anchor’s awful toupee? Something else?

How do I enter?
Tell us about your jpeeve in one of three places:

  1. Post your peeve here in the comments section
  2. Reply to our post on Facebook
  3. Write your jpeeve using the #jpeeve hashtag on Twitter

When does the giveaway end?
You have between now and Thursday, April 7 at 11:59 p.m. ET to submit a jpeeve.

Who will win the free copy of “Write More Good?”
Each person who submits a pet peeve will be placed in a drawing to select the recipient for the free copy of “Write More Good.” Limit one entry per person. (In other words, we encourage you to have fun and submit as many pet peeves as you wish, but you can only be entered in the drawing once.)

The winner will be announced and notified on Friday, April 8.

What are you waiting for?! What’s your jpeeve?

~ ~ ~

A Winner is Chosen!
On behalf of SPJ, we want to thank everyone participating in the ‘Write More Good’ giveaway. Over the last three days we received 88 journalism pet peeves from 73 participants. Of those participating, Janna Braun was selected from our drawing. Congratulations Janna!

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A glance at SPJ’s new Facebook pictures/promos

Facebook released new designs for its fan pages two weeks ago to offer improved engagement with fans, feature photos and provide better analytics for page administrators. We’ve used the upgrades one week later to have a little fun while initiating a new promotional branding idea for the SPJ page.

(Hat tip to Vadim Lavrusik for a helpful Mashable piece about what the new pages mean for owners and users.)

This new idea involves converting the photos displayed on our Facebook page into promotional space to showcase various SPJ programs. The first series includes SPJ’s major communications vehicles so we can help our members and those who engage with us on Facebook (“Likers”?) stay connected with what we’re doing. Each photo includes a brief description of that topic with additional links for more information.

The idea behind this is to highlight other programs provided by SPJ each month, including those for ethics, professional development and freedom of information-related issues. Here is a sneak peek at our FOI pictures:

Coming up with the ideas for this little experiment was fun. After receiving an enthusiastic approval to pursue it from Communications Director and Quill Editor Scott Leadingham, I spent the following weekend developing different concept ideas for how to use the space. The two prototypes used for further expansion include the “Five-for-Five” series listed above and the “Windowpane” series that would conceptually use all five spaces to create one larger image. SPJ’s graphic designer, Tony Peterson, then worked to create the final versions for each series.

When it came time to test our first promotion with the “Windowpane” series, the results were disheartening. We quickly realized that even though page owners have control over what images are displayed on their wall, they do not have control over any consistent ordering of the photos. This is due to a randomization setting Facebook added to the fan page layout versus the average profile page.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t show you what those design series would have looked like. Here is a glimpse at the final concept we had in mind for two different promotions:

Even though we weren’t able to use this technique, it was still vindicating to know the “Five-for-Five” series was invulnerable to the picture randomization setting.

Want to know more about the conversations, limitations and promises this new branding approach is shaping? See my personal blog on who else is experimenting with the new layout.

Andrew M. Scott (@PRMillennial) is the communications coordinator for SPJ Headquarters. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and an SPJ member since 2008.

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Big hashtags for journalists

Twitter is an exciting place for new and seasoned journalism professionals to come together and share ideas and opportunities. One key to optimizing your Twitter experience is to take advantage of its hashtag resource, which links related topics together with a simple # at the beginning of a word, acronym or phrase.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve researched some of the most frequently used journalism-related hashtags and their benefits. For new tweeters out there, or those still thinking about using Twitter, I hope you’ll take advantage of these hashtags for journalists and all those interested in such topics.

Leave a comment below and tell us what journalism-related hashtags you like to use. Of course, the below list isn’t exhaustive. Thanks in advance for your input.

Most Common:
#journalism – Obviously one of the most encompassing journalism-related tags, it is the most used and is great for mixed industry-related posts. While similar, each of its three following variations often differs in content.
#journo – One of the four most encompassing related tags for journalism trends, it is great for mixed industry related content.
#journos – See above.
#journ – See above.
#news – A wide array of real-time, streaming news content as well as trends.

AP Style:
#apstyle – For talking about thoughts and trends related to the Associated Press Stylebook.
#apstylechat – Monthly chat devoted to various issues of the Associated Press Stylebook.

Professional Development:
#journchat – Weekly chat (Mondays, 8 p.m ET) between journalists, bloggers and PR pros.
#wjchat – Weekly chat (Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET) for Web journalists discussing all things journalism, technology, ethics, content and the business of journalism on the Web.
#pubmedia – Weekly chat (Mondays, 8 p.m. ET) for public service media practitioners and supporters. Also for general topics in public media outside of weekly chat.
#spjchat – Weekly chat (Thursdays, 8 p.m. ET) sponsored by SPJ DePaul University chapter and national Digital Media Committee. Features specific topics and trends in the profession. Founded by Mike Reilley.
 
Sources:
#HARO – Help a Reporter Out is for journalists seeking sources for a wide range of specific topics.
#journorequest – Similar to HARO and mostly used by UK journalists seeking sources for a wide range of specific topics.
#ddj – Geared towards data driven journalism topics, trends and tips. [Added:1/20/11]
#datajournalism – Focused on methods and advice for finding data. [Added:1/20/11]
 
Editing and Jobs:
#copyeditor – Includes thoughts, tips and frequent copyediting jobs that come available. [Added:1/20/11]
#copyeditors – Mostly thoughts and trends, the one character difference provides diverse content from the above hashtag. [Added:1/21/11]
#copywriter – Great for thoughts, advice, jobs and trends on copywriting.
#journalism #jobs – Resourceful combo for finding journalism and media jobs.
 
For Fun:
#jpeeve – Where journos and others vent their journalism pet peeves about style, grammar, clichés, newsroom issues other news topics.
#partylikeajournalist – Often humorous, sarcastic, celebratory thoughts from journalists in action.
#followjourn – recommended journalists to follow on Twitter by Journalism.co.uk. [Added:1/21/11]
 
Open Government and Freedom of Information:
#FOIA – Current news and trends concerning the Freedom of Information Act and public records on the local, state and federal levels.
#FOIAchat – Weekly chat (Fridays, 2-3 p.m. ET) focused on issues in freedom of information and public records.
#opengov – Covers news, trends and strategies for developing better open government and public records access.
#ogov – Covers news, trends and strategies for developing better open government and public records access. Content often varies from #opengov content.
#opendata – Another source for information and trends involving open government and public records.
#edem – Open government trends and news related to electronic democracy. [Added:1/20/11]
#pressfreedom – Covers trends, struggles and those fighting for unabridged free speech and press freedoms. [Added:1/28/11]

 
Digital Journalism:
#jtech – Designed for topics involving journalism and technology.
#digitaljournalism – Content related to the digital application of news.
#hyperlocal – Refers to stories and events that are located within a well defined, community scale area.
#ireport – Derived from CNN’s public journalism initiative that allows people from around the globe to contribute pictures and video of breaking news stories from their own towns and neighborhood.
#crowdsource – Trends on leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals.
 
Photojournalism:
#photojournalism – Latest trends on news photography content.
#photojournalist – Often showcases trending photojournalists and their work.
#tog – Trends, thoughts and other news pertaining to photographers. [Added:1/28/11]
#togs  – The once character addition creates similar but diverse content. [Added:1/28/11]

Academic:
#ascj – Content related to the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC.
#cojosm – Content for online journalism, social media and other trends from the BBC College of Journalism social media trainers. [Added:1/20/11]
#cronk – Trends and news related to ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, for coverage of public policy issues affecting Arizonans. [Added:1/28/11]

 
Here are some other Twitter resources for journalists
What the Hashtag – Helps to distill chatter and analyze real-time metrics for hashtags.

@Tagalus – A dictionary-type resource for hashtags and their meanings.

Media On Twitter – A database of over 2,000 media and journalism professionals on Twitter.

40 Writing Hashtags for Twitter – A collection of hashtags for writers, editors and publishers.

Andrew M. Scott (@PRMillennial) is the communications coordinator for SPJ Headquarters. He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and an SPJ member since 2008. Additional insights for this piece were contributed by social media trainer and freelance journalist Jeff Cutler (@JeffCutler), SPJ Director of Communications Quill editor Scott Leadingham (@scottleadingham), and Patch.com Regional Editor and past SPJ Region 7 Director Holly Edgell (@HollyEdgell).

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Can you really engage a community by telling them to “follow” and “like” you?

Sometimes the most obvious answers are the hardest to find – or at least require an “aha!” moment before they’re revealed.

That happened yesterday as I was writing an e-mail message to Quill subscribers and SPJ members about the new digital e-magazine version being available.

At the end I initially wrote: “Follow us on Twitter and Facebook,” giving links to SPJ’s accounts on those networks.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “community engagement” lately, no doubt fueled by following numerous community engagement managers and social media editors on Twitter. (Steve Buttry and Craig Kanalley to name just two.)

It struck me there: What about true community engagement is embedded in terms like “follow us” and “like us”? In short: nothing. I can’t think of a time I’ve felt deeply connected to or an equal part of a group by being told to “follow” or “like” something else.

So, I changed the construction in the e-mail to:

If you’re so inclined, join Quill and SPJ in discussing and reviewing journalism news and conversations on Twitter and Facebook.

If news outlets really are becoming greater partners with their audiences – if community engagement isn’t just the buzzword of the year (which I don’t believe it is) – then perhaps it’s time to re-examine how to interact with community members on the most basic level. Sure, having tweetups and hosting live-chats are essential and incredibly rewarding. But what message are you sending by telling audiences that they’re “followers” and that THEY should “like” YOU?

News and information sharing is a team effort. It takes a village to raise a child, we’re told. And it takes a collaborative community joining together to report, share and discuss the stories that are important to them.

Scott Leadingham is editor of Quill magazine. If you’re so inclined, you can join him in discussing, sharing and commenting on journalism and media issues on Twitter: @scottleadingham.

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