Posts Tagged ‘Citizen Journalism’


Survey: Journalists Do Not Want to Be Contacted Via Twitter

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

A couple weeks ago, the Society of New Communications Research (SNCR) and Middleberg Communications announced the results of the 3rd Annual Survey of the Media in the Wired World. The survey utilized data gathered from 200 (mostly US-based) journalists to study the effects and impact of social media, new media and communication technologies on modern journalism. The results were released at the PRSA Digital Impact Conference on May 6th.Social-Media-Sites_Image

Interestingly, 69 percent of reporters said they use Twitter as a reporting/sourcing tool (this is a 21 percent increase from 2010) with 49 percent saying they have their own Twitter account. But only one percent indicated they’d like to be contacted via Twitter. The disconnect here is interesting to me and I have to wonder why, if they are using Twitter for research, they wouldn’t want to be contacted via the platform. Perhaps they want to listen (aka lurk) and not actually engage – despite the 37 percent who said they use social networking sites to participate in conversations (27 percent specified Twitter). Hmm… that’s a head-scratcher.

Other notable findings: 

  • 92 percent believe journalists’ reliance on social media is increasing.
  • 78 percent say they use company websites as a tool in reporting.
  • 75 percent indicated they use Facebook, with only 10 percent using MySpace. (No surprise there.)
  • 48 percent say they use citizen-generated video; 68 percent say they use citizen-generated photos.
  • 77 percent believe new media and communications tools/technologies are enhancing journalism; 14 percent think social media and citizen journalism will ultimately lead to the demise of the profession. (My guess is these will be the ones looking for a new job soon.)

 Key takeaways for public relations / media relations professionals is that 53 percent of journalists surveyed indicated they prefer to be contacted via email, and 34 percent prefer phone. 

Even as social media continues to change the media landscape, PR Daily surmised journalists still prefer more traditional methods of communication. 

Jen McClure, president of the Society for New Communications Research, stated: “Social media tools and technologies are being used by journalists to monitor issues, stories and content even after a story has been published. The publication of the story is no longer the end result. Today, media organizations and journalists also must serve as curators of content, are looked to to drive conversations and expected to provide information to keep the conversation going even after the story has been published.”

Do you agree with these findings?  Look forward to your thoughts and comments on the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog.

Paid Content vs. Free Content, Apple vs. Google, Web Browsers vs. Apps…as we enter a new phase of digital media who will emerge victorious?

Monday, September 13th, 2010
paperboy

Image: www.aftermathnews.wordpress.com

In March 2009 I wrote my first blog post, here on BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas, about how emerging technologies and platforms were changing the way we consume news – supported by input I gathered from a media summit I had attended that featured panelists such as Joe Scarborough from MSNBC’s Morning Joe and BBC’s Rome Hartman.

I wrote, “And with the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ and this ‘Pro-Am’ partnership that is developing with media, the panel agreed that consumers will have a stronger need for trusted brands, filtering, and editing to help navigate the media.” A year and a half later, the cream seems to be rising to the top in this fragmented media universe.

Today the “trusted brands,” such as The New York Times, are beginning to abandon the old business model of offering free content in exchange for paid advertisements. They are instead looking to generate additional revenue by putting their text, audio, and video behind pay walls or by offering their content as an app for a small fee. “I think we should have done it years ago,” said David Firestone, a deputy national news editor commenting on the NYT’s decision to put some of their content behind paywalls beginning in 2011. “As painful as it will be at the beginning, we have to get rid of the notion that high-quality news comes free.”

The Times Co. Chairman and publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. added, “This is a bet, to a certain degree, on where we think the Web is going…This is not going to be something that is going to change the financial dynamics overnight.”

In fact, no one is sure where the web is going; this undeniable shift away from free content will certainly make life more difficult for the Googles of the world who rely on free content to fuel their search engine. Consumers may turn to company’s like Apple for their media, who adopted the “paid content” model early on by making content available for small fees through iTunes and more recently showing consumers how convenient it is to access a magazine or newspaper digitally for a small fee on their iPad.

 Fox News this week launched its new iPhone political app, available through iTunes for 99 cents. “The idea is that this is your essential guide to daily political news,” says Chris Stirewalt, Fox News digital politics editor, “to put power into peoples’ hands to give them the opportunity in this history making, nation shaping election, to have the tools at hand so that they can really understand and add to the depth of their experience.”

With more people opting to have their media pushed to their smart phones and iPads rather than retrieving information over the Internet it will be interesting to see how this affects web browser traffic. As free content slowly disappears, news websites and aggregators such as the Drudge Report and the Daily Beast may have a tougher time filling their sites with the hyperlinks that contain the raw material that drives much of their sites traffic. Instead the eyeballs will be looking in other directions – with more people willing to pay for content this may ultimately prove to be the antidote that saves a hemorrhaging newspaper industry.

It appears we are on the verge of coming full circle on how we get our news. We’ve gone from relying on newsstands and subscriptions to searching and accessing free content online, only to return to paying the publishers directly once again for their content through app fees and online subscriptions.

Paperboys and newsstand operators may be on the verge of extinction; however, content providers like newspapers, network, and cable TV and movie studios may have the final say in how their product is consumed after all.

As public relations and marketing professionals, how are you getting your news? How do you think the evolving media landscape will affect your ability to successfully conduct media relations and assess the value of your efforts?

What Do You Do When You Find Yourself at the Center of a Negative Story in the Media?

Friday, June 25th, 2010

In ancient China, soldiers would warn against impending attacks by sending smoke signals from tower to tower up to 300 miles away within just a few hours; In 1775, Paul Revere used his vocal chords and a horse on his “midnight ride” to warn of the British invasion and in the 1800’s Samuel Morse used a type of character encoding system to send 20 words per minute via radio.

Today, in just a few typed lines and a few clicks, stories are being spread around the world through social networking sites circling the globe in a matter of seconds. And the vivid details from personal accounts through citizen journalism and the proliferation of camera phones are adding more truth and authenticity to these stories. In some cases the immediacy and extra scrutiny can lead to positive things (e.g., shedding light on last summer’s Iranian protests). In others, it can be

Image: sinotechblog.com.cndevastating for the main character or brand – causing irreparable harm to their reputations. The BP oil spill in the Gulf, the English goalies blunder against the U.S. team in the opening round of this year’s  World Cup, or any Lindsey Lohan story these days are just a few stories that go against the old PR adage, “Any publicity is good publicity as long as you spell my name right.”   

Celebrities have been putting up with this type of scrutiny, to some degree, for years with paparazzi constantly photographing unsuspecting beach goers wearing unflattering bathing suits or in compromising positions. But when it happens to our politicians, business leaders, corporations, athletes or just everyday people, how does one cope with the instant barrage of viral videos, bloggers, or tweeters, and the repercussions that follow? At least bad weather would force the ancient smoke signalers to take a break every now and then. Barring a colossal Internet crash, today’s perpetual flow of information continues to tarnish reputations worldwide (and many times rightfully so).

 Today crisis communications is becoming increasingly difficult with public relations and marketing people scrambling to keep up with today’s technology.  One lesson that Southwest Airlines taught the PR community back in February is to always keep a close eye on what the media, especially social media, is saying about your company. When movie director Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest Flight on Feb 18, 2010, essentially for being too fat, he tweeted about the episode and the next day the story was all over the Internet. However, Southwest wasted no time and offered an apology to Smith via Twitter and posted an explanation of their policy on its own blog before the story started to trend.

Maybe there should be an island for all the victims of negative social media fall out, where they can live in solitude and where there are no computers, web access, or mobile devices until their names are mercifully pushed down the search engine results list.  Even then, it probably wouldn’t take long before helicopters were swirling overhead taking video and instantly downloading the footage online.  A more practical approach would be to prevent the crisis from spreading further by paying close attention to what is being said in all forms of media and to who’s saying it.

The “who are you with attitude?” is old school now. So how are you preparing your clients and executives for “the every one is a reporter mentality?” Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

How Much Has Changed?

Monday, November 9th, 2009

“So much has changed, and we are at a turning point,” said Arianna Huffington, keynoting the opening session for the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) International Conference. (I’m one of several BurrellesLuce representatives attending the conference this week.) She went on to say that, “Old media can be consumed on the couch and new media is like a galloping horse.” Another way to put it is that new media is ADD and old media is OCD.

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Flickr Image: kevindooley

Not surprisingly, Huffington touted citizen journalism, which she believes can help make journalism better. In fact, The Huffington Post had a citizen journalism project during the election, which broke some big stories. Currently, they are asking citizen journalists to tell the stories about the economic crisis.

Some other takeaways from her keynote:

We need to look for the drama. Huffington gave the example of a story she recently wrote with the headline, “Biden Should Resign.” Had she headlined it, “The U.S. Should Pull-out of Afghanistan,” which is what the story was really about, very few people would have read it. The drama gave the story legs, and allowed her to tout it on talk shows. She also suggested using drama in communications to do good and gain support for worthy causes.

She wrapped her presentation encouraging everyone to listen. When we are not talking, we can hear what others have to say and gain knowledge from others.

What are you doing to encourage listening in your organization?

Follow-up: Who’s Feeding Your News Source?

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

This past Friday, the day my last BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas post came out, I was at BlogPotomac, a social media marketing conference in the Washington, D.C. area. Two of the speakers, Andy Carvin, NPR, and Shel Israel, author of Twitterville, both made a point, which hit home:

Social media allows you and me to be the eyes and ears for the mainstream news media.

Carvin sees a role for the public in helping alert the media to breaking news. Because many news outlets do not have stringers, citizen tweets, status updates, and blog posts, can help alert reporters to stories and trends.

With today’s newsrooms downsizing, reporters do not have time to do as much investigating as they would like. Carvin reminded us that NPR’s newsroom lost over 100 people this past year.

The discussion then turned to the ethics regarding what we should and should not be posting. Although hard to control, the attendees all agreed we should each use our best judgment, and always ask for permission to post pictures of people.

In hindsight, I wish I had at least posted a tweet about the incident I witnessed last week, or called or e-mailed a reporter. I don’t think I will ever assume the media will cover a story unless I see them doing it.

Will you be a stringer for news outlets? What do you think is the impact of this kind of reporting?