Posted April 28th, 2013 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
Last week I had the privilege of attending a workshop at News Ltd which focused on the effective use of Twitter for journalists.
In an earlier post, you may recall I wrote about how Twitter was the number one online tool for journalists. I still think it is. I use it every day to engage with my followers, share news and find stories.
We were fortunate to have experts from Twitter present the workshop. Twitter’s Director of Market Development Mike Brown and Twitter’s Manager of Journalism and News Mark S. Luckie shared some valuable tips on how journalists can use Twitter to build their following, improve their engagement, and effectively share information.
Here’s what they shared:
‘Tweet your beat’
When it comes to sharing information on Twitter, journalists should connect with their beat, or news rounds, to ensure information shared is relevant to followers. “Journalists are the experts in topics they cover, and should bring that same knowledge to Twitter,” says Luckie. This doesn’t mean journalists shouldn’t tweet about things that don’t fall within their beat or news rounds – but data has shown that journalists see the highest level of engagement and growth in followers after sharing tweets that relate to their core coverage areas.
Live-tweeting at events such as meetings, conferences and forums, where interesting information can be obtained and shared with your followers, is a great way to boost engagement. Journalists who post a concentrated number of tweets in a short space of time see follower growth increase by 50 per cent.
Develop a story ‘out loud’ on Twitter
Consider sharing a developing story with your followers to encourage conversation, generate sources for stories and use it as part of your newsgathering process. You don’t have to give away the ‘punch’ or sensitive information – think of it more as writing points in your notepad. It also allows you to build a readership as the story develops and create an audience who is already primed for the story.
Share your multimedia
Tweets with media (images, video etc) receive, on average, 3 to 4 times more engagement than those without media.
Use Twitter handles or @mentions
Using Twitter handles or @mentions in your tweets increases engagement and encourages follower growth. Luckie says it shows people that you are using Twitter in a native way and that it’s a great way to expand the reach of your story or information, as mentioned users could respond or retweet your tweet to their network of followers.
Initiate a chat on Twitter to encourage interaction and conversation with your followers. Sometimes, these can be planned ahead if you know you are going to interview a sports star, celebrity or industry expert who can answer questions on Twitter for a specific period of time. This will give your followers access to valuable information while showing that you have expertise in a particular area. “Twitter allows you to not only promote your work but have conversations,” says Brown.
Using hashtags can increase engagement almost 100% for journalists, and 50% for news organisations or brands. Hashtags not only allow you to categorise tweets or put them into context but also give you the chance to be part of the same conversation by using a common hashtag. For example, when Australians engage in a conversation about politics on Twitter the hashtag #auspol is commonly used to indicate they are part of the same discussion. “Use hashtags to have your message be part of a broader conversation,” says Brown.
Use the re-tweet button
Tweets that are re-tweeted in full using the automatic Retweet button are shared three times more than tweets that are quoted.
Share content other than your own
Twitter is not just about self-promotion. Share what you’re reading with your followers. Chances are, they’ll find it interesting too. Journalists who share content from sources outside their own organisation see higher engagement levels overall.
Know your market
Do you know when your followers are most active on Twitter? This can determine when you should be sharing information and engaging with your followers. Perhaps they check Twitter at 8am on their morning commute to work, during lunch breaks, while watching television late at night or on weekends when looking for updates on sports games.
“Think about what you’re already doing on Twitter – it should help you do the work you’re already doing.” – Mark S. Luckie.
Are you a journalist, writer or someone who works in the media that uses Twitter? Do you have any more helpful tips on how to use the social media channel more effectively?
Posted March 22nd, 2013 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
A handful of Australia’s leading fashion writers and editors gathered this week to speak about how the changing media landscape has impacted on fashion journalism.
As part of the business event series at L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, the Fashion Industry Forum 2 – The Fashion Media Landscape Transformation invited the industry influencers to share their thoughts on the topic.
From highlighting the fundamental expertise and skills required to succeed in the current fashion media marketplace to the challenges they’ve faced with the introduction of digital technology, the experts shared an interesting perspective on the current state of journalism in the fashion sector.
- Damien Woolnough, currently Fashion Editor at The Australian (soon to be Deputy Editor of the new ELLE Australia)
- Edwina McCann, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Australia
- Janice Breen Burns, Fashion Journalist and Author
- Melissa Hoyer, Fashion and Media Commentator
- Kim Wilson, Executive Fashion Editor at Herald Sun
- Rae Begley, Found and Director at Little Hero PR
Here are three things I learned about fashion media:
1. Traditional journalism will prevail
Damien Woolnough opened the conversation by saying newspapers are “no longer the monolithic voice” in the media landscape. “But there will always be room for an authoritative and respected voice in the media.”
In this changing media landscape Breen Burns is going back to her grassroots of fashion writing – quality editorials and long form journalism. With the launch of her new online publication Voxfrock she feels “getting away from the idea of the bedroom blogger” and opting for authenticity will succeed. “Traditional journalistic skills are going to be as important now as they ever were,” she said.
Hoyer still borrows skills and techniques from her old newspaper writing days and said that even though online is growing, “we still want short, sharp fixes of news today”.
While the panel said that graduates don’t have to come from a specific media course to be a journalist, they all agreed that traditional education is still important for landing work in the media.
2. Measuring audience engagement is difficult
Media, including fashion journalism, now relies on being instantaneous and interactive. But publishers and publicists are struggling to measure and interpret the value of online activity and readership.
Begley said there aren’t yet tools available to measure the value of social media and admits that is it is a challenge managing clients’ expectations when it comes to new media. “They don’t always understand the power it has,” she said.
Some clients also have the misperception that social media is the only channel that matters, adds Begley, pointing out that traditional mediums such as print, TV and radio are still among some of the strongest voices in the media landscape.
Across the board, the panel agreed that one of the biggest challenges in their business is communicating to clients what the return on investment (ROI) is on purchasing advertising space and being present on social media platforms.
Is a ‘like’ or a retweet more valuable than a page impression?
3. Journalism is not dead; it’s changing.
Hoyer said she was “sick” of hearing people speak about changes to the media industry in negative ways.
Media is exciting, she explained, because we are now working in an industry that is reacting to what our readers or consumers want.
“Media and journalism is not dead. It’s just the way we produce and consume it that has changed,” she said.
McCann agreed and noted that one of the biggest changes for publications nowadays was that they have to think carefully about what the value is for the reader – it’s not just about ticking boxes.
Editorial staff also have to be more accountable, in terms of keeping up with the latest technology and trends, added McCann.
For Vogue Australia, today’s editorial team works across the print magazine, its digital editions and the website. Journalists have become ‘multitaskers’ who know how to analyse data and produce content across a range of platforms.
Wilson said her role at Herald Sun has changed “dramatically”. Gone are the days where she could file copy purely for newspapers – now it’s all about creating stories for multiple platforms in what has become a continuous news cycle.
Although Wilson technically works part-time, she described her role as “a 24/7 job”. She’s tweeting, instagramming and checking international news feeds all before arriving at work on an average day.
But Wilson said she is excited “to be part of this new wave” even though she doesn’t know where it’s going to take her. “Having the dialogue with people that are interested in what you’re doing is fascinating,” she said.
Did you attend this Fashion Industry Forum? How have changes to the media industry impacted on the way you do journalism?
Posted April 19th, 2012 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
‘The future of news is entrepreneurial, not institutional. I believe journalists must become entrepreneurs‘
– Jeff Jarvis, American journalist and associate professor of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.
The idea that news, and journalism, is moving into the entrepreneurial space is nothing new. Since the introduction of web journalism and online news, the way in which we create and disseminate content has changed. American journalist Jeff Jarvis and many others have shared this sentiment and spoken about the shakeup of the structure of news moving away from being dominated by large corporations and making way for new and smaller startups. This is not a discussion about the fate of news and journalism but rather one that looks to the optimistic future of it and how it will be built. Today, it’s not uncommon to come across many journalists that once worked for “the institution” but have now moved on to freelance careers or started their own business based on their newsgathering and production skills.
British broadcast journalist and TV presenter Marverine Cole says gone are the days where journalists start at a mainstream media organisation and stay on for 20 to 30 years. She sees future journalists with a mix of experience on their CV, with long and short contracts across a range of media. “Jobs are so few and far between these days that it’s inevitable people will have to be innovative about the way they get work and not be so choosy about what they do,” she says.
“The field of broadcast journalism is so much tougher out there now, so being multi-skilled is essential. Generally you’ve got to be a chameleon. It means then that you’ve a better chance of maintaining a source of income in one area if and when a contract ends elsewhere.”
Cole enjoys the variety of work that comes with freelancing. She runs an award-winning beer blog, presents TV news programmes, produces radio documentaries, conducts PR and media training and manages her own promo video company Funf Media with her husband. “It’s a big difference from when I was in a staff post as a Grade 5 Broadcast Journalist at the BBC where I was told what to do, what not to do, and when to do it. The freedom is great and I’m earning a great deal more than a Grade 5.”
Callum Scott, an associate professor at Melbourne University and Deakin University in Australia, has been freelancing for a number of years and teaches creative entrepreneurship to media and communications students. Scott enjoys the dynamic pace of the freelance lifestyle and hunting down the work himself. “I like working as a freelancer because I’m not a team player and freelancing is wonderfully unpredictable, which keeps me on my toes.
“I was simply sick of working for people and having to play by their and the company’s rules. Freelancing affords me the luxury of never having to compromise.”
Scott believes there are many opportunities available for the entrepreneur but warns that “it’s not a game for the faint hearted”. A freelancer needs to learn to think creatively, as well as critically, he says.
Adam Westbrook, a multimedia journalist, blogger and media lecturer based in London, left his mainstream media job in September 2009 to embark on a freelance career and hasn’t looked back since. Westbrook enjoys the freedom that comes with being self-employed and having the opportunity to work on multiple creative projects simultaneously. “Being self-employed I’m in total control of what work I do and who I do it with, and in control of almost every minute of my working day. If I’m not excited by a project or a story I don’t have to do it. I think a lot of people end up freelancing as a stop-gap while they look for a ‘proper’ job, but they’re overlooking an opportunity to use this freedom and control to create something remarkable doing what they love.”
While Westbrook never considered himself to be much of “a business person”, he started exploring entrepreneurship because he was excited by all the opportunities he could create.
“This is a unique time we’re in where anyone can start a web-based business for less than $100 and the audiences and communities that you can create are growing. And when you start at it, you realise that entrepreneurship and journalism can sit side-by-side: they’re both extremely creative, and at their best are about helping people.”
Almost three years into freelancing and Westbrook is not only making a decent living but also living the lifestyle he wants. But despite his own success, he warns that taking the entrepreneurial route is not for everyone. “It’s always a risk, and you have to be comfortable with uncertainty, and the fact that most ideas fail. And that’s not for everyone.
“But if you don’t think you have a business mind, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the potential to create something. Five years ago I didn’t think I had a business bone in my body. If you have an idea for a project that you can’t get out of your head, just start, and start small. You’ll learn everything you need along the way. As Chris Guillebeau says: “Failure is a real possibility. Regrets are optional”.
What are your thoughts on the future of journalism as entrepreneurial? Have you taken the plunge and gone freelance? Did you succeed? Feel free to share your story in the comments section below.
Posted October 12th, 2011 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
What is civic journalism?
Before we jump into the key points made at the discussion, I want to clearly define what civic journalism is. Civic journalism, at its heart, is a belief that journalism has an obligation to public life – an obligation that goes beyond just telling the news or unloading lots of facts, according to the Pew Centre for Civic Journalism. It follows the notion that journalism can help empower a community or disable it. Civic journalism provides the people with the information they need to function in a democratic society.
Democracy Place defines civic journalism as “an effort to reach out to the public more aggressively in the reporting process, to listen to how citizens frame their problems and what citizens see as solutions to those problems… and then to use that information to enrich news stories.”
Modern media is “morally bankrupt”
Heather Brooke opened the discussion on civic journalism and why it matters with this bold statement: “journalism is suffering an identity crisis.” She’s accused the modern media of being “morally bankrupt” and having lost touch with its core function of holding the powerful to account. “The ultimate moral bankruptcy of modern journalism is it’s forgotten its core purpose of informing the public.”
Journalism is one of the most important ways to change society and challenge power, noted Brooke. But she argued that “proper” journalism has been usurped by marketing, PR, and selling products, and journalists no longer look at courts, schools, and local councils – the very things that comprise civic life. “When profit becomes the main reason for journalism, journalism loses its public purpose,” she said.
Brooke said there is a real lack of “challenging journalism” today, highlighting the lack of reporting of justice in courts, as an example. The Royal Courts used to have 25 dedicated reporters. Currently there are only 4, and 2 at the Old Bailey (Press Association). Today, journalists in court are often treated in low level disdain, said Brooke.
Brooke cited another example: The Guardian, unlike politicians, used court reports to analyse the people behind the UK riots. However, they found it extremely difficult to obtain information on people who were charged during the riots because the [court] clerks wouldn’t allow access to court records. The Guardian eventually gained access to some of the datasets via the Ministry of Justice and cross-referenced addresses of those charged with riot locations. Prior to this, the court registers had never been requested before. Does this mean that the bureaucracy prevents journalists from holding power to account? It was discovered that police incidence reports, fire inspection reports, and parliament reports are still not public. Brooke questioned: why is this case? She expressed her outrage at this and asked how the UK media, who are supposedly aggressive, could not be asking these basic questions. “Journalists are meant to be finding out where power exists and challenging them with questions.” Because of these factors, said Brooke, people don’t feel like the media represents their interests anymore.
“If you really want to be a journalist, you have to invest in fighting for the information that’s in the hands of the powerful. If the information was easy to get, everyone would have it.” – Heather Brooke.
Brooke said the growth of new media, where everybody is now a journalist or can be a journalist, makes it hard for readers to know where to go to find a trustworthy and reliable news source. So how did we get to this state in journalism? “We treat journalism like any other business, like a widget in a factory… News is just not like that,” answered Brooke. Readers now seek out news sources that have proved reliable and have stopped going to sources that have failed on this front. Brooke also noted that professional journalists, who are needed now more than ever, can differentiate themselves through their brand and their reputation to verify news. Only then can the public turn to media they know can be trusted. As a reminder, Brooke cited the tagline of The Uptake, a citizen-fuelled online news gathering organisation: Will journalism be done by you or to you?
Where to from here?
Importantly, journalists will lead the way with change. We’re seeing shifts in the way people are thinking about power. Brooke reminds us that as journalists, we need to remember our public purpose. “Journalists will lead the way if they stay close to the people. We need to remember the public,” she said.
What are your thougths on the importance of civic journalism in today’s society? Do we need it now, more than ever?
Posted August 24th, 2010 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
While this article was originally published in Onya Magazine (on June 8, 2010) I felt it was appropriate to re-visit the piece again given the context of this blog and to demonstrate my ongoing research into the future of journalism and new media.
As part of their Chancellor’s Lecture series, Swinburne University hosted a seminar on journalism last week. The discussion particularly looked at the future of journalism in the digital age and the challenges that the growth of the Internet and the decline of advertising revenue bring with it. It’s no news to us that the emergence of the digital environment poses a threat to traditional media platforms and the lecture only touched on the ways in which we can embrace and adopt new money making models for the future. Perhaps the conclusion here is that we do not yet know what the future holds. And according to the speakers, the upcoming generation of journalists will carry with them the responsibility to create the new business model from which journalism can continue to flourish.
The lecture Journalism in the Digital Age posed many questions and sparked debate on an issue we don’t necessarily have all the answers to right now. The first speaker, Dr Margaret Simons, challenged the listeners to think about what the public is interested in and how can we cater to the needs of an audience. As an award-winning journalist and the chair of Public Interest Journalism Foundation (PIJF) Simons described the current media model as “broken or under stress” and stated that the once strong relationship between journalism supported by advertising is quickly on the way out. “Publication is not the problem, financing it is,” she said.
Simons believes that it is equally an exciting and frightening time to be involved in journalism. The Internet brings with it new opportunities to experiment with projects and new ways of disseminating information to an audience. “Newspapers have seen revenue move to online sites. And while mainstream media organisations have also set up their own websites, revenue from online advertising cannot sustain high quality journalism. There is, however, no evidence of a declining appetite for news and information. Never before has there been so much media choice, or such need for quality information and debate. Thanks to the Internet, it’s a time of great challenge to journalism, but also freedom and possibility,” she said.
Simons described the current shift of moving into the technological revolution similar to that of the time when the printing press was introduced. It changed many ways of doing things but also opened up new possibilities. And this, she claims, is how we should approach the future. Simons predicts that new publications may be smaller and perhaps less profitable and less powerful than the large dominant media organisations in practice today. But these publications will be more intimately connected to their audience, relating to and interacting with them closely.
Simons spoke about a new model of delivering news called YouCommNews by crowd-sourcing funding as a commissioning mechanism. It is based on the same model initiated by the Spot Us project where the public can commission important and overlooked stories and donate money to fund the research, investigating and reporting. Referred to as “community powered reporting” the model is a nonprofit project where contributions are tax deductable and is partnered with news organisations to distribute content under appropriate licenses. This concept reinforces the notion of developing a more direct and collaborative relationship between professional journalists and the audiences they serve. The key question Simons asked in relation to this was “how much will people pay and what will they pay for?”
Jonathan Green, editor of the new ABC online opinion and analysis site The Drum, and former editor of Crikey, also spoke at the lecture. For new media, Green believes that journalism is the thing that has to be sustained because there are great opportunities and qualities in the craft. The challenge is to find that fine balance between delivering news in an effective way to an audience that wants to consume this information. “Paying for content is not necessarily the answer. There are cultural issues in journalism too,” said Green.
Green stated that media models are currently working in a self-serving way. With the rise of the Internet as an interactive medium where journalists can directly communicate and receive feedback from their audience, the power is shifting from big media organisations dictating news to collaborating and responding to the needs and wants of an audience. “Journalism may not be the ‘be all and end all’ of investigating, gathering and disseminating information,” said Green. We have seen examples of this currently at work as crowd-sourced funding indicates the news agenda and when citizen journalists contribute to important items of news. This shift may see a new method in the way journalists work and source their information.
Former CEO of The Age and senior Fairfax Media and News Ltd executive, Mr Steve Harris, discussed challenges and opportunities for traditional media. He claims that today we have more information than ever before yet we still have a need for credible, trustworthy information. “The digital environment simply fast tracked the pressure question,” he said. The inevitable change was bound to happen sooner or later but he believes that the fundamentals that underpin journalism, and always have, will continue to do so. “As long as there’s a need for good journalism, there’s an opportunity,” said Harris.
Harris posed an interesting question during the session, suggesting that for new media models to be effective, the information delivered will need to do more than what it’s currently doing. “What journalism better helped you understand climate change or any other big issues?” he asked. The need for good journalism in the future, he says, will be to sustain democratic analysis and discover what is relative to an audience and their needs. “The Holy Grail was objectivity. The new Holy Grail is transparency,” he said.
Quality assurance was also a major concern, as amateur citizen journalists and an increasing amount of bloggers enter the digital environment. Harris described comparing the credibility of news sourced from The Australian newspaper, as an example, compared to popular blogs. We know that qualified journalists have researched, written and delivered news to the highest quality possible but can we still expect the same level of credibility with blogs on the Internet? And does the speed of the Internet mean that we are compromising the quality of a well-rounded story? Harris suggested that the problem with the speed of delivering news at such a fast pace simply puts more heat on a topic instead of shedding light on an issue. Does this mean that an audience fails to fully comprehend an issue?
A lot has changed in the media industry for journalists over the past twenty years. Expectations and responsibilities have grown vastly and a different skill set will be required from the journalist of the future. According to Harris, journalism may become more so an “activity” than a “profession”. While Harris agrees that there is a constant search for a new revenue stream, online communities are active and so engagement with them is more direct. In moving forward, journalists will need to encourage audience participation and discussion on any given topic.
To find out more about the Swinburne’s Chancellor Lecture Series, visit: www.swinburne.edu.au/alumni/chancellor_lecture_series/chancellor_lecture_series.htm
Images thanks to Swinburne University Media: www.swinburne.edu.au/mediacentre
© 2010 Sharon Green. All files, words, content and articles on this site are the intellectual property of the writer and no person is authorised to copy or reproduce the material without the author’s prior consent.
Posted July 27th, 2010 by Sharon Green in Future of Journalism
Journalism on Screen forum:
From Print to Broadcast to Blog
â€“ a discussion on the changing times in journalism
Panel lead by: Michael Gawenda (Director at the Centre for Advanced Journalism)
Speakers featured: Jennifer Byrne (ABC TV), Jonathan Green (Editor, The Drum), Evan Williams (The Australian) Sally Warhaft (Social Commentator)
Melbourne celebrated journalism and media at the Journalism on Screen event held in mid July. Combining interesting forum discussions on key issues surrounding the industry, the festival was complemented by a range of films that featured a journalism theme. Key speakers included leading journalists and editors currently working in the Australian media industry and I felt fortunate to attend a forum on the future of journalism (in such turbulent times) that sparked an interesting debate on whether newspapers are dying and if the journalism trade has a future in the face of a growing online environment.
Opening the discussion was a broad question on whether the panellists believed if print has a future. Evan Williams believes newspapers will survive because the history of the medium is so entrenched and the culture is so deep. He agrees that there are many conveniences about print; its portability, permanence and credibility. But he does believe something needs to change. â€œNewspapers need to produce themselves into a more convenient format,â€ he said.
Reading a broadsheet while crammed on a bus or train on the way to work is no longer a practical way to receive news. The prevalence of news accessed via smaller electronic devices, such as mobile phones and the likes of the iPad, is fast becoming the norm as people seek updated news that can be delivered to them quickly.
The truth is that technology is here, now. And we need to find ways of taking full advantage of that. The challenge however, lies in the uncertainty of where technology is going to take us and whether weâ€™ll be able to keep up to speed with it. But itâ€™s not all bad news â€“ we simply need to ensure that we embrace the opportunities. Jonathan Green believes it will all come down to the drive of the individuals doing the work. â€œThere will be mechanisms and better ways to access information,â€ he said. Most panellists agreed that the online environment is a place to obtain information however, it places no influence on the quality of the content. â€œOnline is just a delivery mechanism,â€ said Jonathan Green.
As editor of ABCâ€™s The Drum, Jonathan Green, has worked across print and, in more recent times, moved across to online media, fulfilling a new demand and new style of reporting. He believes that newspapers served to fulfil a need that once existed and that perhaps thereâ€™s no longer a reason to produce print. â€œWeâ€™re seeing the migrationâ€¦ the craft wonâ€™t die but the medium might,â€ he said.Â Itâ€™s reassuring to hear that the need for journalism will remain but the changes will occur in how it is delivered.
Sally Warhaft, former editor of The Monthly, a national magazine on politics, society and the arts agrees and said newspapers are no longer going to be just â€œnewsâ€ papers â€“ theyâ€™re going to deliver something more. Perhaps this is why we have seen an increase in feature writing and investigative reporting among newspapers in their effort to offer something extra to their readers, as straight news becomes old quickly in a time where the internet dominates breaking stories.
So where does this leave us? The general consensus was that the craft of journalism still consists of the values it always has. The purpose is still to inform an audience. There are still those same passions to do the job today where reporters talk to people, deal with ideas and make a story out of it. The only difference is that the online sphere has changed the way in which we source and deliver that information. There are now new means to deal directly with people on the ground, at the scene of a story and via interaction online through feedback and comments.
Journalists will be required to work harder but still facilitate between the event and the audience â€“ acting as the translator. Journalists now need to sell themselves in different ways across different platforms in order to get work. â€œYou will need to be your own brand,â€ said Michael Gawenda, Director at the Centre for Advanced Journalism. It was agreed that it will be important for journalists to do something different to distinguish themselves in the industry.
Despite all the challenges and unanswered questions that lie ahead in the future of the journalism industry, what motivates new/young journalists entering the industry today when the competition is so fierce? Sally Warhaft made a comment in this forum that journalists wanting to enter the industry would be better off seeking work overseas because the opportunities are not available here in Australia. I received no response to this comment when I asked why she believes that is the case. But in an attempt to find an answer, do you believe that there are more opportunities to break into journalism overseas? And if so, which countries are offering these opportunities?
Should we be more optimistic about the opportunities in journalism as we head into the future, aided by technology and new ways to deliver stories?
Your thoughts on this discussion would be greatly received and I welcome you to post a comment below.
Â© 2010 Sharon Green. All files, words, content and articles on this site are the intellectual property of the writer and no person is authorised to copy or reproduce the material without the authorâ€™s prior consent.