Posts Tagged ‘CNN’


Women are the future

“The future of media looks like this.”

That is how a tweet from Josiah Ryan, a senior producer for CNN in New York, began when discussing the recent front page cover story on the network from The Hollywood Reporter.

Featuring the network’s chief executive, Jeff Zucker, and other journalists and personalities, including Jake Tapper, Anthony Bourdain, Casey Neistat and W. Kamau Bell, the story focused on the future of the network in the digital age.

The tweet however, became subject of rampant criticism from others in the industry as well as other Twitter users, notably for the absence of women on the front page, and the message the tweet sent in the replies.

The criticism also came as the tweet was shared.

This week, International Women’s Day is observed – a day to recognize the achievements and contributions women have made around the world, including in journalism. This also coincides with the celebration of Women’s History Month.

There has been a recent increase of women studying journalism, and indeed there are prominent women in digital journalism, including Katie Hawkins-Gaar at the Poynter Institute, Tory Starr and Raney Aronson-Rath at WGBH in Boston, Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post, Tamara Keith and Sarah McCammon at NPR, Asma Khalid at WBUR in Boston, Meredith Artley at CNN (and the past president of the Online News Association) and Laura Davis at the University of Southern California, as well as the women whose tweets are quoted in this piece and others who work to keep this industry strong.

This also is the first year that the executive leadership at SPJ has been led by three women – President Lynn Walsh, President-Elect Rebecca Baker and Secretary-Treasurer Alex Tarquinio. Additionally, 14 of the 23 seats on SPJ’s Board of Directors are held by women, while of SPJ’s 9 committees, 4 of them have women listed as chairs or co-chairs. Also, in SPJ’s 5 active communities, 4 of them have women serving as chair or co-chair.

Indeed, SPJ members like Walsh, Baker, Tarquinio, Robyn Davis Sekula, Rachel McClelland, Kathryn Foxhall, Sarah Bauer Jackson, Elle Toussi, Dana Neuts and Dori Zinn, in addition to other SPJ members nationwide and those who work behind the scenes at its headquarters in Indianapolis, play significant roles in the development of the future of media.

All of these women have something in common. Every day, at their outlets, be it a broadcast outlet, a web site or a newspaper, they inform, educate and engage. They help the public make sense of events, and help the world cope better.

The future of media is something that will continued to be discussed, questioned, debated and dissected. Yet, there is something necessary to the future of this industry – women. Their ideas are quintessential to the development of the future. Their contributions allow journalism to be stronger, and they inspire me to help make journalism better.

The debates may continue, but one thing is for certain – women are the future of media, and we must never take them, their ideas or their contributions for granted – ever.

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is a member of SPJ’s Ethics Committee and a contributor to the SPJ blog network. 

Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is a Managing Editor and contributing 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 unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital Community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

The importance of verifying in breaking news

When reporting on stories on platforms like Twitter, accuracy is important. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

When reporting on stories on platforms like Twitter, accuracy is important. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons under CC license)

Twitter, in its nearly 10 year existence, has become ubiquitous with live events. It allows users to keep up with friends, family, and especially the media when it comes to life here and now. It has also become quintessential when it comes to breaking news, including covering the shootings Wednesday at a social services center in San Bernardino, a suburb of Los Angeles.

As the story broke, Twitter became a way for dissemination of information by news organizations, as well as an attempt to aid reporting for other platforms. As journalists looked for witnesses to the attacks, one Twitter user, who gave the name Marie Christmas on the platform. It later emerged that the user had fabricated information and had not witnessed the attacks, as my SPJ colleague, Ethics Committee chair Andrew Seaman noted on the Code Words blog earlier today.

Those who reported her remarks and had broadcast interviews with this individual had fallen for the error, as Steve Buttry of Louisiana State University noted in his blog, and there are still some questions, especially how the user got onto CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and how she was vetted. Buttry inquired to CNN about the subject, and a message left with a CNN spokesperson in Los Angeles was not immediately returned.

The story served as a reminder of the importance of verification and accuracy. Andie Adams, a digital producer at NBC San Diego (who also oversees communications for SPJ’s Generation J community), said they worked with their colleagues at KNBC in Los Angeles on the social media coverage of the story. Yet, when looking at a breaking news story, that solid source is important.

“We try to hold back, especially on numbers, so we’d like to get a solid source for a most accurate count before reporting,” Adams said in a telephone interview. “We don’t want to cause undue alarm.”

Adams says that accuracy is the big thing in reporting, and that journalists should be careful about false information.

“False information gets retweeted over and over again and you need to be careful where that information is coming from,” Adams said. “Check your sources. Make sure the information you get is true.”

As the story unfolded, Twitter and other social media platforms were filled with information on the incident, and the social networks are developing new platforms and tools when it comes to reporting live events. Adams says while the new tools are helpful, the ethics are still crucial, even as you report for platforms beyond social media.

“Accuracy is paramount no matter what platform you’re using,” Adams said. “You can do so many things. If you focus on the tech, you could lose the ethics of the journalism part. You forget to do your main job. You need to keep those ethics in place. Value is important.”

Ultimately, the essence of the 5 main journalism questions, who, what, when, where, why and how, still are essential, and Adams says you need to ask what the most important information should be in breaking stories, and what the consequences are for sharing that.

“You can’t speculate,” Adams said. “You need to watch for it in the digital age.”

Alex Veeneman, a Chicago based SPJ member, is SPJ’s Community Coordinator and blogger for SPJ’s blog network, with a focus on social media trends in journalism as well as British media. Outside of SPJ, Veeneman is Long Form Editor and a contributing writer for Kettle Magazine, an online publication based in the UK. You can interact with Veeneman on Twitter @alex_veeneman.

Facebook and the second screen experience

Facebook is trying to create a unique second screen experience, and hopes its partnership with CNN can aid it. (Photo: Pixabay)

Facebook is trying to create a unique second screen experience, and hopes its partnership with CNN can give it a huge boost. (Photo: Pixabay)

Editor’s note: This post was amended at 2:09pm CT to reflect updated information on CNN and Facebook’s partnership on the debates.

Tonight, CNN and Facebook are to host the first presidential debate between the Democratic candidates. While political observers wonder what exchanges will be made between front-runners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, some eyes are on Facebook, and if it can truly create a true second screen experience in the face of social competition?

CNN will be using Facebook Mentions to stream the debate from its Facebook page, the first page to use Mentions to stream video, according to a report from Mashable. CNN, at the time of this posting, has nearly 19 million likes on its page. It was originally available to public figures who had been verified by the site.

The question of second screen arises as Facebook was ranked as the second most viewed source for political news for the baby boomer generation, in research earlier this year by the Pew Research Center. The social network was ranked the top viewed source for political news for millennials according to additional research.

When it comes to debates and major events, many types of social media outlets become second screen experiences. With this partnership, Facebook is attempting to be the provider of the most unique of those experiences.

In an interview with Mashable, Andrew Morse, CNN’s Executive Vice President of Editorial, said events like debates have become instant social events, and the ability to have a seamless experience was crucial.

“To be able to have that ‘second screen’ that is not a prosthetic limb, [that is] seamlessly flowing between TV and happening on Facebook — it’s a really neat concept,” Morse said. “It’s a really elegant dance in certain ways.”

Facebook does however have some competition on that dance floor, most notably with Twitter and Snapchat. Last week, Twitter introduced Moments, the feature that had been known by many as Project Lightning, which is likely too to play a social curating role with tonight’s debate.

Snapchat is also trying to find a footing, as it planned to hire journalists to document the campaign through snaps, in addition to its Discover channel, of which CNN is a content provider. Its head of news, Peter Hamby, who the social network hired earlier this year, was a correspondent for the cable channel in its Washington bureau.

It is unclear how many debates CNN is partnering with Facebook on. Facebook and CNN have an exclusive partnership on the debates for the rest of the primary season, according to a Facebook spokesperson SPJ reached by telephone.

Yet, no matter the results of tonight’s debate, a two-fold question emerges, which social network can provide the best second screen experience, and how can news organizations respond to it? Ultimately, that answer will come not from pollsters, pundits or the public in the series of primaries and elections that will follow, but from the social networks themselves, and the direction they will take to create an experience for its users that will be unique from all the rest.

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 Co-Student Life Editor and a contributing 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 unless otherwise specified are that of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SPJ Digital community, the board and staff of the Society of Professional Journalists, or its members.

Snapchat Discover Making Moves

Every reporter, every news company wants its products to be viewed by as many people as possible. Social media has made it easier for stories to be shared quicker and wider, and earlier this year Snapchat entered the news game with the Discover feature. Prior to Discover, Snapchat was a social media platform that couldn’t have been farther away from the news game — the purpose was the send funny pictures that lasted a maximum of 10 seconds.

CNN, Cosmopolitan, People, The Daily Mail, Vice, National Geographic, ESPN, Yahoo News, Food Network, Comedy Central and Warner Music were the original publishers to sign on. In the seven months since it was launched, iHeart Radio and Buzzfeed have been added, and Warner Music and Yahoo News have been removed. The simple addition and deletion of some publishers show that the app has gone through development and advancement, with the hopes of more success in the Discover feature. It has also been moved to the main story page, instead of hidden in a small button.

It is one thing for Snapchat to be showing interest in news and the desire to make the news feature more popular with its users, but outside publishers are also benefits from being in business with Snapchat. CNN, The Daily Mail and National Geographic have staff members that only work on Snapchat and Vox is looking to hire specific Snapchat staffers in order to get on the Discover feature.

Snapchat as a social media platform for news is unique because there is a specific audience that is being reached and that audience generally isn’t going to the app just for news. The publishers that are part of the Discover feature are tasked with creating content that will work on Snapchat, be of interest to young users and be visually appealing on a smartphone.

Snapchat’s advancement of the app and news organizations desire to be a part of its growth shows the trend of news heading going digital and the importance of social media. The news organizations that have decided to sign on have shown they are willing to worth with news trends and be ahead of the rest of the industry. Discover may not have reached the perfect formula for reaching the users it wants yet, but if more news organizations are willing to be a part of it, it success should only grow.

Taylor Barker, a member of the Ithaca College chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, is the student representative for SPJ Digital. Barker is also an editorial intern for The Miss Information. You can follow her 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.

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.

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