Published on March 8, 2014
SOCIAL MEDIA AND JOURNALISM I stole ‘curated’ this image Ben Rubenstein
OVERVIEW • The role of journalism – why is it so important? • How social media has changed the game • Newsgathering • Distribution • Consumption • Threats and opportunities
WHAT IS JOURNALISM, ANYWAY? • Traditional ethics of journalism: • Accuracy • Proportionality/Fairness • Transparency • Independence “Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.” – Clay Shirky
WHAT DO JOURNALISTS (AND INSTITUTIONS) REALLY PROVIDE? • Credibility/Authority • Access • Tough questions (speak truth to power) • Money (for investigations) “In journalism, real authority starts with reporting. … ‘I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it.’ ” - Jay Rosen
HOW DID WE GET HERE? Advertising revenue decline (Craigslist) Free access to news via online sources Democratization of publishing Business responses: Paywalls – hard, metered, social, Bitcoin NYTimes, Chicago Sun-Times, WSJ, Financial Times “Evergreen” content Archives, images Custom publishing Pro Publica Rebundling NYTimes + Spotify, print + online bundles, aggregation Subscriptions Andrew Sullivan
DEMOCRATIZATION OF NEWSGATHERING Social media offers a direct channel to the public Twitter conversations Anonymous tips Increased transparency – ask questions while producing a story
NEWSGATHERING RESOURCES HAVE EXPANDED • More exposure for trends • What the public is interested in • What people are sharing and talking about
HOW DO THE SOCIAL COMPANIES SPIN THE STORY?
BREAKING: JOURNALISTS NO LONGER CONTROL THE PLATFORM Social distribution is key for getting eyeballs
THE END OF BIG • Traditional news organizations are being scooped by: • Blogs and citizen journalists (“Sources go direct”) • Amateur bystanders – stories flow up instead of down • Their own staff
NEW-ISH ROLE: SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR • Provide tools to help journalists do their jobs better • Optimize content and distribution for new channels • Curate content
SPEED AND STYLE TRUMP EVERYTHING ELSE • Tweet first, confirm later • The goal is to stand out, get noticed: • Sharable, Upworthy-style headlines • Striking images • Correct timing of posts
ORIGINALITY IS SECONDARY • Existing content can be ‘curated’ and redistributed • Aggregation or stealing? • Social stories often get their start from traditional media
THE RISE OF THE PROSUMER The audience can now comment immediately and insert themselves into the story
THE RISE OF THE PROSUMER The audience can now comment immediately and insert themselves into the story Is this a good thing?
ALL NEWS IS SOCIAL NOW – SOME OLD, SOME NEW
NICHE COMMUNITIES • Mainstream doesn’t cover it? No problem!
THE FILTER BUBBLE Was it ever really different?
RESPONSIBILITY OF JOURNALISTS IN SOCIAL MEDIA • Confirm before tweeting? • Not falling for hoaxes • Give credit where credit is due • Thoroughness “Digital first resets the journalistic relationship with the community, making the news organization less a producer and more an open platform for the public to share what it knows. It is to that process that the journalist adds value.” – Jeff Jarvis
SOCIAL JOURNALISM BENEFITS • Info can be disseminated much more quickly • More promotion and exposure for quality content • More diversity of opinions • Improved research and tips • Improved transparency • Opportunity to build strong personal brands
SOCIAL JOURNALISM DRAWBACKS • “Not enough and too much information” • False information spreads quickly • Exposure breeds cheap content/content farms • Too much faith in the public
NEWS DISTRIBUTION: 1963 • How were people getting the information? • What was the timeline of information getting out? • What were the reactions among the public? How do you know?
NEWS DISTRIBUTION: 2013 How were people getting the information? How many sources? What was the timeline of the information getting out? What was the reaction? How do you know?
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS: CONSPIRACY COMES QUICKLY
BOSTON MARATHON BOMBINGS: CITIZEN JOURNALISM IN ACTION
TAKEAWAYS Just as important for news orgs to be reporting via social media as on their own platforms Citizens are now a vital part of the news process Multiple videos/sources instead of just one Much more info, but no filter
THANK YOU • http://www.benrubenstein.net • linkedin.com/benrubenstein • @ben_rubenstein
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