Off The Written Path

George Mason University and the Use of Social Media in the Case of Abdirashid Dahir

April 3rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

A recent post by Mindy McAdams about the use of timelines in journalism had me wanting to try out the idea. I thought the recent case of George Mason student Abdirashid Dahir would lend itself to a timeline. How quickly events happened after the Sarah Evans Facebook post would help to show the power of Social Media. This was a way for me to try out the concept, it is not comprehensive and I welcome any suggestions, additions, and corrections on the comments section below.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

Facebook Journalism On The Rise

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Facebook is not only a place to connect with friends, it is now more and more a way to connect with news. A recent post by Vadim Lavrusik on Mashable talks about this growing trend.

Facebook journalism is on the rise because the social media site is becoming more public, Lavrusik says.

The recent Egyptian revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power has been called a “Facebook Revolution.” Activists in Egypt used Facebook to organize, and journalists used it to connect to the pulse of the Egyptian community.

Lavrusik mentions that AlJazeera English was able to track planned protests, gather information, and find sources from the revolution through Facebook.

Other benefits of Facebook for journalists include:

  • Building sources
  • Gaining insight into the ‘voice’ of a community through status updates
  • Tapping into a community that you might not have access to, such as Libya

Lavrusik reminds journalists that they still need to contact people and check their facts before they use material from Facebook. For more on how journalists can use Facebook take a look at this Mashable guide.

Tags: Tech Blog Posts

‘JournalismNext’ Chapter 10 Summary

March 8th, 2011 · No Comments

Photo By Joe Hardy

News is a conversation now, not a lecture, and there is no going back, says Mark Briggs in Chapter 10.

Briggs acknowledges that some journalists would prefer a lecture style of news, but says that journalism is made better by audience participation. The key now is for journalists to learn to “manage, and leverage, that conversation.”

One common method of audience participation in news is the “Comments” section beneath an article. However, comments easily devolve into “inane,” “cruel,” and “a ghetto of personal attacks and flame wars,” Briggs says.

It is the responsibility of the journalist or news organization to help maintain a high-quality comments section, which will ultimately lead to better transparency in the reporting process and improve journalist-reader relations, Briggs says.

Other methods for joining the conversation include:

  • Make news participatory: Provide an opportunity for user generated content. Use message boards, have a “most popular” section, display blog links to an article, use social bookmarking tools on your content, and use social networking.
  • Get involved: Put in the extra elbow grease by participating in the reader community. Solicit content, do community outreach, run contests, moderate the comments section.
  • Develop sources through social networks: Find sources through Facebook or MySpace, on niche social networks or build a Google group of sources.
  • Collaborate with your community: Instead of competing with readers for a story, collaborate. Let readers provide the “what” while you provide context; the “why” and “how.”

Briggs also reminds journalists of the importance of accuracy, and the importance of correcting errors when they do happen.

A mantra that is mentioned again in this chapter is that journalists should realize that readers “know more than we do” and that reader knowledge can be leveraged to improve reporting.

Tags: Journalism Next by Mark Briggs