Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


BRANDED: How young journos can make a name for themselves

Let’s be honest, I’m not great at branding myself in the journalism world, and if we run the stats I am probably not qualified to write a post about it. But, I am really good at regurgitating other people’s thoughts, so I went to someone with more experience, credentials, knowledge and really just someone who knows a lot more about branding than me — Robin J. Phillips.

Robin J Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robin J. Phillips

My Twitter followers: 356 (mostly pity follows)

Robin’s Twitter followers: 3,736 (probably all legitimate) 

I had the opportunity to talk with her at Excellence in Journalism 2014 in Nashville, when she was a speaker for the Branding for Journalists breakout session. Phillips just so happens to be the digital director for the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism and a journalism professor at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, so who more fitting to give all of us up-and-coming journos a branding lesson than Ms. Journo Branding herself?

Want more tips, tricks and advice on breaking into journalism as a young journo? Join SPJ’s  #youngjournojobs Twitter chat at 2 p.m. ET on Sept. 30 with Kenna Griffin, assistant professor of Mass Communications at Oklahoma City University. In the meantime, check out her awesome website with loads of young journo helpful tools.

Now back to branding with Phillips:

Q: What are the top five things a young journalist who is trying to brand themselves must do?

  1. Get your own domain name. Register a Dot Com name that is as close to your real name as you can get.
  2. Even if you aren’t working as a journalist yet, get moving. Create a blog on a topic you’re passionate about and be creative. While you’re waiting to work as a journalist, be a journalist – write, report, take photos, make videos, show what you can do.
  3. Join journalism organizations where you can find training and begin to network with other journalists: There is a group or two for everyone like SPJ, NAHJ, NABJ, AAJA, NLGJA, NAJA, AWSM, JAWS, RTDNA, ONA, #wjchat.  If you don’t know what those are, go look them up, follow them on Twitter.
  4. Spend time every once in a while taking a look at the bios you have for all the social and online platforms you belong to. If you joined Polyvore or Pinterest as a kid and haven’t been back in a while, take a look at the photo and bio you have there and update them. You don’t necessarily want to kill the under-used sites, but it’s a good idea to make sure that if someone finds you there, they are seeing what you want them to see.
  5. Have fun. Social media and sharing things on the web is all about relationships. It’s time-consuming, but should not be a big chore. If you’re having fun – in a healthy, safe, professional way – then people will pick up on that and want to “hang out” with you.

Q: What is the worst mistake you see young journalists make in the name of branding? 

Trying to be something you aren’t. It’s important to be yourself. Figure out who you are, what you want to do and keep that in mind.  Life is too short to pretend you’re something else. That doesn’t mean you should stay the same always. Figure out your goals and make sure that everything you do to present yourself in a professional way is consistent with those goals.

For example, if you want to be an investigative reporter specializing in healthcare (could happen!), then follow healthcare reporters on Twitter and Facebook. Read everything you can about your subject and share the good stuff. Comment once in a while about what you are reading or watching – your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s about what is good and interesting.

Q: What are three incorrect stereotypes about journalist’s branding themselves?

  • People sometimes think Branding is being fake. See my answer above. Don’t be fake. Branding is actually being very real – true to yourself and true to others.
  • Some journalists think Branding is a sell-out and that your work should stand for itself.  Not true. There is too much news and information out there these days.  It’s OK for you to give your work a little push. Share it.
  • Journalists, who often are basically shy, can be critical about Branding because it feels like bragging. So what’s the matter with that? You don’t want to be obnoxious, but if you’ve done something new, interesting, smart, go ahead and blow your own horn. If you don’t tell people (prospective employers, for example), they may never know. That doesn’t mean Tweet each story you write 5 times a day. Just like any other relationship, share your successes, but don’t be obnoxious.

Q: What phone app can you not live without? 

Flickr. I love photos. My camera – HTC One – has a great camera so I take a lot of photos. I try to quickly kill the poor ones and upload high-resolution versions of the good ones to Flickr where I can keep them for later or share them with family and friends.

Q: If you could only use one social media outlet to brand yourself as a journalist, what would you choose and why?

It’s got to be Twitter. Twitter is great for journalists because it is so easy to find people interested in the same topics you are. A local journalist might have more luck on Facebook, but that gets too mixed up with personal and professional contacts. Twitter is a good place to establish your voice.

Q: If a young journalist was trying to better their personal brand and could only revamp three things, what would you suggest they focus on?

  • Review your bios.
  • Think hard about your true goals – what do you want to do, how to you want to spend your time.
  • Then start to think of yourself as a professional. Social media can feel personal and intimate, but don’t lose site of the fact that you are representing yourself as a young professional at all times. That gives you both power and responsibility. Use them wisely.

Q: Who are some examples of good journalists who are great at branding themselves?

Sarah Lane

Andrew Nusca

Afrah Nasser

Marcia Pledger

Carmen Drahl

Sonari R Glinton

Ivan Moreno

Personal Branding for Journalists slides in full.

Q: Do you think branding has become a completely digital game, or are there still tangible techniques outside of the online sphere young journos should be aware of?

Oh, in-person, real-life friendships and contacts are invaluable. After all, that’s what life is about. As you establish yourself in your field, you’ll find that relationships you make online go only so far. If you find a source online, you need to treat that person with suspicion, perhaps not quoting them at all until you’ve met in person, and certainly until you’ve talked on the phone. As far as friends and mentors and colleagues you meet online, you’ll find that you get a lot out of relationships that are only digital. But, when possible, turn those into real-life relationships.

Attend journalism conventions when you can and set up in-person meetings. If you’re on vacation to a new city, ask an online connection to meet for coffee or see if you can stop by their office. You’ll both know a lot more about each other because you’ve been following each other online. Go the local journalism organization’s meet-ups. Or organize one yourself. I once had a dozen people meet in a local bar to “attend” #wjchat on a Wednesday night. We were talking to people around the world on Twitter, but it was fun to be with ‘real’ local folks at the same time. This goes back to No. 5 above.  Sometimes it’s just more FUN in real life.

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 interact on Twitter: @Taylorcarlier.

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Notes on the news, Twitter and public hunger for accuracy

There was a lot of bad.

The bombings — tragic.
A city gripped by fearful uncertainty — terrible.
News media spewing inaccurate information — beyond disappointing.

Much has already been said about the journalism mistakes: the impact on the industry, the misuse of social media and what to consider the next time big news breaks.

Among those valuable takeaways, it’s important to highlight news consumers’ reactions to media blunders.

More than ever, they’re not having it.

That’s my unscientific observation. In my year with SPJ, I’ve monitored the social media reactions to the SCOTUS ruling on the Affordable Care Act, the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., damage caused by superstorm Sandy, the Newtown, Conn., school shooting and now the Boston Marathon bombings and the manhunt that followed. (There was the U.S. Presidential election, but that went smoothly. Did I miss anything? Probably.)

As big breaking-news events occurred, news consumers became increasingly intolerant of inaccurate reporting. Via Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, they ask for verification and urge news deliverers to exercise patience and ethical judgements.

Setting aside the inaccuracies churned out on those same platforms, it’s wonderful to see a hunger for quality journalism. Plenty of journalists got it right, but the ones that didn’t must take note of their audiences’ reactions. People want — they demand — informative, accurate reports.

Give the people what they want.

___

FYI, the SPJ Code of Ethics is a great reference » http://spj.org/ethicscode.asp

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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Clever responses to my communications blunder

I send a lot of emails — THOUSANDS of emails — for SPJ. Last Thursday morning, I sent one to every member of the organization. After pressing send, I turned to my to-do list and planned the rest of my workday.

Then I saw this on Twitter:

the start of a long day
Crap.

You're one of nearly 8,000, in fact.

 

Right you are, Carl. I went into the contact list and saw that each email address lined up with an unrelated name. I sent 7,331 incorrectly addressed emails.

All I could do was correct the mistake and let it serve as a reminder to triple check everything I send out — the revered double-check had failed me this time.

I expected to lose part of my day to addressing the problem. I did. But I didn’t expect to spend much of the afternoon laughing.

Thank you, journalists, for your persistent sense of humor.

In exchange for your patience and wit, I give you:

The Top 5 Responses to My Stupid Mistake (and the subsequent correction email)

5. “I liked being ‘Dave’ for a day.” — Peggy

4. “I was all set to climb up on you with both feet about the ‘Donald’ thing. Trump, maybe or Donald Duck, even … then you corrected your mistake.” — Janet

3. “I considered making a smart aleck reply, but figured it would have to take its place in a long line.”

2. “I’ve been called a lot of things worse than ‘Jennifer’ in my years as a community newspaper editor.” — Gary
(Three others also said they have been called worse. Journalism!)

And the winner, by far:

1. “Thanks for the invitation, but my name isn’t ‘Mary.’ : -)”
[I replied to this man —Mark — with an apology]
“No big deal, Christine. I guess I’m still a little sensitive about the fact that, back in ancient times, my local newspaper used to publish the list of school classes for fall, and they almost always ID’d me as ‘Mary.’ Humiliating experience for a 6-year old boy.”
[Additional apology sent]
“Thank you. Gotta run. Appointment with my therapist.”

And that, I believe, is called a Silver Lining.

But really, I’m lucky to have experienced little backlash. Regardless — lesson learned.

 

BONUS: How the foolishness unfolded on Twitter:

screenshot

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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Applying for a journalism or communications position? (Don’t) do this.

Here at SPJ HQ, we have been sifting through scores of internship applications for our two summer positions and the yearlong communications internship.

Based on what we received, we compiled advice for job-seekers. Here are some application dos and don’ts, based on this year’s applicant pool. (Kudos to those of you whose materials included the dos.)

When applying for journalism or communications positions:

  • DO include a cover letter. DON’T misspell the name of the person you’re addressing. Also, DON’T mistype the name of the organization you want to work for.
  • DO read and follow all directions. DON’T forget to send all required materials.
  • DO include links to your website, relevant online profiles and anything that helps an employer learn more about you. DO include your twitter handle alongside your name, email address and phone number. In this industry, it’s just as relevant as the standard contact information.
  • DON’T mess up your own contact information.
  • DO carefully choose relevant writing samples. DON’T send a college term paper as a writing sample. If you don’t have clips, consider starting a blog about topics related to the position.
  • DON’T apply for a position that you are not interested in. DO clearly articulate your interest in the position by citing related experiences.
  • DO tailor your résumé and cover letter to the job you seek.
  • DO research your potential employer. DON’T repeatedly tweet at him or her.
  • DO find the “about” tab on the organization’s website.
  • DO whatever you must to send a legible application. You may look at your application and think, “That’s great penmanship!” but next to typed applications, it looks sloppy.
  • DO structure your letter like a letter. DON’T send a one-paragraph essay for the one-page essay portion of the application. DON’T send a three-page essay for the same requirement.
  • DO follow up. Once.

There is plenty of job-application and résumé advice out there, so take advantage of it. This is a small list of tips based on the more than 100 applications that have come across our desks so far.

Here’s a final thought for you from Tara Puckey, SPJ’s chapter coordinator who is also processing internship applications.

“This is a large stack. If you want me to notice you, you have to do something different.”

No matter what job you want, keep that advice in mind.

 

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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Chat tonight: Manti Te’o and journalism’s history with hoaxes

Failure. Disappointing. Sloppy. People had a lot to say about the role of journalism in the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax, and much of the commentary assailed the media.

The criticism has merit, but in the weeks since the scandal unfolded, the more bizarre and complex the details have become. The media cannot be wholly blamed for or excused from the mishap, and all that mess is meaningful to journalism and its mission to report the truth.

Instead of compiling an expert-laden media analysis, SPJ wants to talk to you about it. An issue of this magnitude deserves wide discussion, which is why SPJ will participate in tonight’s #muckedup chat about the media’s tangled history with hoaxes.

Join us tonight at 8 EST for the chat hosted by Adam Popescu (@adampopescu) for Muck Rack. The more SPJ members we can include in this conversation, the better — the topic means a lot to the growth of journalism.

Follow the #muckedup hashtag to participate, and we (@spj_tweets) will see you there.

 

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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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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Messy SCOTUS coverage is damaging for media

Today, I am disappointed in journalism.

Not everyone botched the announcement of the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act ruling, but plenty of trusted media outlets did a disservice to their audiences by prioritizing speed instead of accuracy.

Like half a million others, I turned to SCOTUSblog at 10 a.m. today, toggling between that and my Twitter feed. At 10:08, the explosion began: The Associated Press said the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act. CNN said it was ruled unconstitutional. The Daily Beast said it was struck down at 10:08 but retweeted The AP at 10:09. Confused, I went back to SCOTUSblog to read their measured reports.

twitter feed

My Twitter feed in the seconds following the ruling announcement.

From the SPJ Code of Ethics: “Journalists should test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.”

Many of the erroneous tweets and headlines have disappeared from their primary sources, though those blunders live on, thanks to screen shots and the copy-paste function. But the confusion was costly from a future credibility standpoint. The networks and publications that got it right should take note of the ridicule and criticism raining down on their Twitter-happy peers.

Most of my frustration came from seeing the incorrect reports retweeted. As the minutes after the announcement passed, I continued to read posts of misguided happiness and anger, all because a friend of a follower of a follower of a news organization perpetuated the seemingly reliable information.

(Jeff Sonderman of Poynter has a good roundup of and reaction to the inaccurate reports/tweets.)

The social media response to the blunders proves that people would rather get correct information as it becomes available, rather than quickly receive an imperfect report. The point of engaging with a news outlet is to stay informed.

I don’t want to have to congratulate the journalists who waited to verify the ruling to publish the result. They just did their jobs correctly, which I expect of them. I am disappointed that this expectation was not met by others.

The winner in this brawl to break news is SCOTUSblog — it’s a non-traditional outlet started by law professionals, and they presented reliable coverage of the complicated ruling. By 10:22, they had 866,000 people tracking their live blog.

But for the millions who referenced Twitter, breaking news alerts, live TV and 24-hour-news-cycle websites, the day was one of defeat. Regardless of one’s opinion on the legislation, news consumers were exposed to a slew of unreliable reports before being corrected.

I hope health care isn’t the only industry that sees reform after today’s ruling.

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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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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Tweet this: New York Times restricts “tweet.” And the crowd goes wild.

I’m convinced that the journalism industry is one of the most cannibalistic professions. Sometimes for better (e.g. weeding out the Jayson Blairs of the world). Sometimes for worse (e.g. technoratti who practically cheer the death of the printed word). Sometimes for the fact that its practitioners are its most stalwart critics.

I don’t know in what category (if any) today’s chatter about The New York Times standards editor Phil Corbett’s pronouncement about the use of “tweet” falls, but there’s no shortage of cannibalistic tendencies taking place from within. Just check out some of the comments from this post on The Awl.

Yes, it’s true, ladies and gentlemen, The Gray Lady is putting the smackdown on Twitter slang, at least in most instances. In fairness, there isn’t an outright ban on “tweet,” though Michael McElroy in the Times’ public editor office wrote me in an e-mail that “it’s pretty close.” (Note that the public editor’s office doesn’t speak for the Times, but rather is an advocate for, well, the public.)

Reactions range from the snide (“rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic”) to the laudatory (“Thank you Phil Corbett. Can you imagine if you looked up a NYT article from 1974 and it was filled with CB radio slang?”).

Since we at SPJ are always interested in what journalists think about this thing we call “our livelihoods,” we put it out to the Twitterverse (a word I’ve just deemed acceptable in all SPJ Works blog posts):

And, of course, the responses varied:

For what it’s worth, the AP Stylebook is of at least minimal guidance. The new social media guidelines say this about Twitter:

Twitter A message-distribution system that allows users to post continual updates of up to 140 characters detailing their activities for followers or providing links to other content. The verb is to tweet, tweeted. A Twitter message is known as a tweet.”

I’m not entirely sure if that means it’s acceptable to use “tweet” in AP style, or just that it’s been defined by the updated Stylebook. But, of course, The New York Times is free to use whatever style and guidelines it wants. In fact, it (and many outlets) diverts from AP style in notable instances, such as by using “Mr.” or “Mrs.” before surnames after a first reference.

And that brings me to the point of this: Does it really matter if the Times chooses to use “tweet” to describe a message or status update on Twitter? After all, don’t journalists and outlets pride themselves on their individualism, uniqueness and “local voice”?

Chew on that … cannibals.

Scott Leadingham is editor of SPJ’s Quill magazine. He’s a vegetarian. Twitter: @scottleadingham

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Twitter List: News About the News

If you’re anything like us at SPJ headquarters, you probably have a mildly unhealthy obsession with “Glee”  …  er … journalism industry news. Ah, then what better way to follow the news about the news than with a handy Twitter list?

Here’s a useful (and admittedly unfinished) list of real-time tweets from those who discuss journalism industry issues. Specifically, you’ll see groups such as the National Association of Black Journalists (@nabj); a digital journalism blog with tips from Mark Luckie (@10000words); updates from venerable media reporters like CJR’s Megan Garber (@megangarber) and former E & P writer Joe Strupp (@joestrupp); and much more.

Of course, the list isn’t exhaustive, as there are seemingly more people in the Twittersphere discussing and dissecting journalism than there are rabid fans of “Glee.” (And, hey, sometimes people do both.) If you have a suggestion to add, drop us a line at @spj_tweets.

So, here you go. Oh, and click here for a similar list of tweets from SPJ chapters and instructions on how to get a Twitter list working for you.

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