Posts Tagged ‘audience’


Journalists, audiences and credibility on Twitter

Social media has evolved the news process, but Twitter has been shown to increase credibility. (Image: Pixabay/CC)

Social media has evolved the news process, but Twitter has been shown to increase credibility. (Image: Pixabay/CC)

Modern journalism has without a question been revolutionized by Twitter. A replica of a wire service, the social network allows users to keep up with the events of the world, and new ways for journalists and news organizations to tell those stories. Over the course of its near ten year existence, the social network’s presence has allowed journalists and news organizations to inform and engage with audiences in ways previously unimaginable.

New research has showcased the social network’s value in journalism. Researchers from Hope College and Lehigh University have shown that interaction with users by journalists can increase credibility and are rated more positively by users compared to those that use the social network to provide news and information.

So what does this say about how journalists approach Twitter? Anne Mostue, an anchor and reporter with Bloomberg Radio in Boston, in a telephone interview, said most journalists are aware of the study and the role interaction has, but says its down to time, balancing personal and professional matters, as well as attitudes about Twitter.

“Most people who choose to interact with journalists on social media are looking to get to know them in some way,” Mostue said. “In my experience, people don’t know how to get in touch with someone on the radio. Twitter is a great way to give me feedback.”

Mostue joined Twitter a couple of years ago after joining public media station WGBH, at the encouragement of the station’s social media director. Mostue says she was attracted to Twitter for the ability to enhance public knowledge and contribute to discussions while saying little about things going on outside of her work.

However, Mostue says, journalists have to be careful on what they tweet, as Twitter has had an effect on audiences’ views of journalists. Mostue adds that when there is so much breaking news, users should not be distracted about events in one’s personal life.

“I don’t want to distract people with superficial information about my life,” Mostue said. “I have to be careful not to give too much of my personal opinion with the news I’m tweeting about. I hope what I tweet is useful or intelligent. It can be a very social platform, but it is more of a news platform than a social platform.”

Ultimately, Mostue says Twitter is another way to give audiences accurate content.

“For some its a time issue, they choose Facebook or Twitter, or don’t enjoy Twitter as much,” Mostue said. “But everyone knows that ideally as a journalist you’re thought of as a person who is approachable and giving you accurate content, and people appreciate your efforts to engage with them and give them relevant information every day.”

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and is a contributing blogger to the SPJ blog network on British media issues and social media’s role in the future of journalism. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

Can social journalism thrive on Snapchat?

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

As Snapchat hires its first Head of News, there are questions as to whether it can revolutionize social media journalism. (Photo: AdamPrzezdziek/Flickr under CC)

Social media has changed the course and direction for engaging audiences, especially younger audiences. Instagram is at the core of that, with a recent study from the Pew Research Institute saying 53 percent of 18-29 year olds use the photo sharing app, while 49 percent of users use it daily. It has also become a way for many journalists to tell stories, including NPR’s White House correspondent Tamara Keith, who was featured on this blog in January.

But not far behind Instagram in the context of social media for younger audiences is Snapchat, and this week it made a major move toward it becoming a new journalism hub. The social network, based in Los Angeles, announced that CNN political correspondent Peter Hamby would be departing the network to join Snapchat as its Head of News. CNN is a partner with Snapchat through its Discover feature.

In an interview with the On Media blog at Politico, Hamby said Snapchat had potential when it came to news.

“Snapchat is one of the most exciting young companies in the world,” Hamby said. “They have a big and growing audience, and we’ve seen Discover is a huge success. Their live stories around big events, around places both here and abroad, the potential to take users to new places — we can see some application of that with news.”

Hamby declined to discuss any specifics of his new role with Politico, but added that he would be with CNN as a contributor through its coverage of the 2016 elections. Neither CNN nor Snapchat did not respond to Net Worked’s requests for comment for this piece. Other partners through the Discover feature include Vice, ESPN, Yahoo and People Magazine.

The news of Snapchat’s acquisition of Hamby comes as a report from the web site The Information said that traffic for Discover had been down 50 percent since its launch in January.

While Snapchat has thus far shown itself to be influential when it comes to social media and younger audiences, it is still early days as to whether it can truly be in the running as a platform for social journalism, though it does have potential to change how younger audiences consume journalism, especially with key events including the lead up to the elections.

The days and weeks ahead will certainly be a test for the social network, but there are also some lingering questions, not just on content, but also engagement, considering the drop in traffic with Discover. Can it compete with Instagram, Twitter and other networks to be one of the top social providers for journalism in a demographic whose media habits are in a constant state of flux? Would newsrooms adopt Snapchat as part of the overall social strategy? Or will it be an outsider on social media, intended solely for its colorful messaging and communication techniques?

The ball is now in Snapchat’s court, with many wondering what its next move will be.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, is a contributing blogger for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. Veeneman also blogs for the web site ChicagoNowYou can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s unless otherwise indicated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

How Meerkat and Periscope can transform social journalism

You may have seen some tweets appear in your stream over the past couple of weeks utilizing two tools recently made available to the public – Meerkat and Periscope. Immediately, news organizations began testing them, seeing what works and what couldn’t work when it came to developing new relationships with audiences.

Indeed, as testing of these platforms took place in organizations around the world, there had been an increasing consensus that more work should be done, including the British publication The Economist, who did a live stream on Meerkat discussing the British economy. The Economist, according to a report from the Guardian newspaper in Britain, was one of the first UK news outlets to use it.

“Live streaming is fun and has the informality of Twitter rather than the seriousness of TV, so we should do more of it,” said Tom Standage, the paper’s deputy editor, in an interview with The Guardian, adding that it could bring wider benefits to the paper’s coverage of the UK’s general election, due to be held in May.

These tools, albeit new, have the power to transform news organizations’ overall engagement with audiences on social media, as social video continues to become increasingly popular not just on these apps, but on apps including Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

Yet, Meerkat and Periscope are able to stand out in the vast world of social media, because of the guaranteed immediacy of the interaction of audiences, helping them get the full story, especially on breaking events. There are no restrictions on time, and the experience of streaming becomes a live conversation, something Twitter had been keen to emphasize with its acquisition of Periscope.

With a number of directions that can be taken from a content standpoint, newsrooms should not be hesitant with these apps or incorporating them into a social strategy. Indeed, inclusion of them will be a step forward for the organization, and can allow more out of the box thinking when it comes to social strategies.

If you’ve not used it, take time to think now about it, and what Meerkat and Periscope can do for your newsroom. I’m sure you’ll find that the benefits outweigh the cons.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member and founder of SPJ Digital, blogs on social media’s role in journalism for Net Worked, and serves as Community Coordinator for SPJ. Veeneman also is Deputy Editor, Media Editor and a writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter here.

The views expressed in this blog post are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital executive, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

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