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Social Media Coordinator and Editor: Mutually Exclusive?

After reading Mandy Jenkin’s (former HuffPo self-proclaimed “Twitter Monkey”) thoughts on being a social media editor and what that does to her slightly less social Journalism aspirations, I had a few ideas of my own that I thought it would be good to share with the public.

I’ve been a “social media coordinator” since 2008. I started with a Facebook group, linked to my personal account, for my internship with This Old House magazine. The group was used to promote the TOH Pumpkin Carving Contest. And then I used Facebook and Twitter to start another contest — The Gingerbread House Carving contest, which they continue to do today.

Back in ’08, I didn’t tweet as much as I do today (although I’ve been on Twitter since Dec. ’08) and most people I spoke with thought it was a dumb service that would die out.

How wrong they were!

Journalism, in my opinion, has always been social. My professors at Quinnipiac University often reminded us that from the dawn of time, people have been asking “What’s going on?” “What’s the news?” “Sup bro?” All of these questions mean the same thing — people are sharing (interacting) with one another about the events happening around them.

Thanks to the Web, journalists (and companies, software developers and countless others) now have a way to access their “fans” in real time. We can ASK for feedback in a million different ways. We can see what the people — our ultimate “employers” — want to know.

That’s what makes me so passionate about Journalism. That’s what makes me write and fight every single day for this so-called “dying” industry.

Jenkins offered a few thoughts that concerned me, however. In her excellent blog post, she went into great detail about her fears of being stuck in the social chains and how she hopes that she (and other social media editors) will one day be able to break the chains…and join the Editorial Meetings.

In my opinion, they should never have left the Editorial Meetings.

By day, I’m an Assistant Reporter AND Social Media Coordinator. To me, they go hand in hand. Now wait one minute, I’m not saying EVERY reporter should be a social media coordinator (I do think there should be one person leading the effort and training others in the newsroom) but I do believe every, single reporter in every, single newsroom should be social.

And I’m not just talking about at the water cooler.

How will you incorporate Twitter into your daily life? Maybe you’ll use Buffer (an app that allows you to schedule tweets/Facebook updates from links you like), or Ping.fm, or maybe you’ll use Hootsuite, TweetDeck or another service that lets you tweet on the fly.

However you do it, it’s essential that you first speak with the Social Media Editor/Coordinator at your publication AND then start promoting your own brand, peppering it with commentary, real life activities and, oh yea, work links.

FacebookGiornalistaGooglejournalismjournalistsnew journalismsocial journalismSocial Mediasocial media coordinatorsocial media editorThe GiornalistaTwitterVictoria Reitano

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Journalism is a Calling, Answering is Optional

Telling stories is something I’ve done my whole life.

My brother, also known as he who could not be returned and/or my little miracle depending on how I feel about him on a given day, didn’t speak until he was five and so I communicated with the world for him. At five years old, I was telling someone else’s story and it was a powerful feeling.

Telling stories comes with responsibility, you have to always try to tell the story in a way that is accurate and fair. My friend JR insists I’m a dying breed; a breed of journalist that died out with Murrow, but I insist there are more of us out there.

As I went through my clips to create my Clips page on this site, I realized just how much each story had changed me. Each story taught me something different about myself; it taught me when I cave, when I fight and why I do both.

Recently MediaBistro published a story about Jill Abramson and her commentary on whether or not women report stories differently. According to the post on Facebook, Abramson believes men and women report articles in the same way (here’s a NYTimes opinion piece on it). She said “The idea that women journalists bring a different taste in stories or sensibility isn’t true. I think everybody here recognizes and loves a good story, and the occasions are rare when there is disagreement about that.”

I, most respectfully, disagree.

 

While the mechanics of our methods are similar, I think we feel differently about certain things and can bring that to the table. I see it as an advantage.

Maybe I’m young, maybe I’m naive, but I feel that my ability to “feel” is what makes me a better reporter. There may not be crying in baseball, but there’s crying in my journalism. The sadness that I feel every time I report 9/11 stories (or read them) makes me realize that sharing that with people (where were you, I was here type of reporting) helps people cope. It helps people realize that you’re not a ruthless reporter, merely trying to profit from their pain. You’re a concerned citizen who believes the public needs to know the story of the one you lost.

I remember reading somewhere that if you speak the names of those lost, they are never truly lost. And, if anything can be learned from the 9/11 coverage last weekend, it is that by sharing stories heals, helps us remember and joins a people together.

So use your gift, journalists, or hang-up the phone; stories need to be told by everyone, using all skills you have on hand. And if that includes “feminine” emotions, then so be it.

changesjournalismnew journalismprintreporters

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