Journalism and social media

Assignment 9: If you do not have a social network account, create one. Use preferably Facebook or Twitter, but if there’s a good online network in your country, you can use that as well. Write a blog post about the way in which you imagine you can use this network to your journalistic advantage.

twitter logo map 09

Social Media Networks (Photo credit: The Next Web)

I already have a Twitter account, please feel free to follow me there.

The second part of the assignment requires an answer to this question: “In which way do you imagine you can use this network to your journalistic advantage?”

I have been on Twitter and other social media networks for a long time that I cannot only imagine how social networks can benefit me as a journalist because it has already helped me in my work. To show an example of that, I would like to share this:

In January, a cargo ship originating from Manila ran aground the coast of Wijk aan Zee. It was stranded on a Friday morning and caught the attention of the media in the afternoon. The towing company tried to haul it back to sea but only managed to do so on the evening of Saturday. I couldn’t be there on the weekend because of other appointments. What I did was, from the time that I learned about it:

  • googled the name of the ship to get a primary backgrounder
  • called the towing company to confirm the report
  • followed the hashtags “aztec maiden” and “wijk aan zee” on Twitter
  • followed all companies related to the event (e.g. towing company, reddingsmaatschappij, coast guard, nautical police)
  • checked other social media networks that could help in the dissemination of pictures, videos
  • posted shout-outs on Twitter and Facebook in case anybody who has videos/images wants to share or sell it

The results:

  • I got the story, more accurately than other Philippine-based networks even if I was not physically there
  • I got a telephone interview with the spokesman of the towing company which I recorded and sent to the news network
  • I was updated all throughout the weekend until the ship moved out of Holland on the Monday evening (through Twitter, Google, phone)
  • I got a video through the Coast Guard’s You Tube channel which they tweeted about first
  • I got some pictures from friends living near Wijk aan Zee (through Facebook)

In summary, this is how social media can help you as a journalist:

  • Through social media, you can connect to many different people who are all possible sources of information, images and videos
  • Through this connection, you are able to confirm a story, determine which source/s can give you the best information
  • Because of a wide array of people connected to social networks, you don’t only get the news that authorities want to share, you also get the news from the people on the ground themselves
  • When you ask, somebody answers
  • You can share your story in real time
  • And much, much more, please feel free to add

Social media is good for and is reshaping journalism. If you know how to use it properly (e.g. badmouthing people on Twitter is a no-no!), you will definitely profit from it. Big networks won’t even hire a journalist who does not embrace social media because they know that the benefits outweigh the risks. #


So, what do you think?

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