“Twitter is journalism’s Obama.” What are journalists talking about these days?

February 13, 2009

Get a bunch of journalists together to talk about changes in their business and you get all kinds of interesting comments. In this fascinating report by Alana Taylor on PBS.org the focus is on social media and Twitter in particular. (Thanks to crisisblogger reader Simon Owens for sending this on.)

Here are a few other excerpts from the report:

Journalists are obsessed with Twitter. Obsessed. They use it, talk about it, analyze it, deconstruct it, reconstruct it, love it, hate it, capitalize on it, become experts on it, monetize it, argue about it, and become micro-famous on it.

“Journalists need to start seeing the public not just as audience members, but as sources,” said Andy Carvin as he held his cell phone tightly in his hand. While he explained the concept of Twitter to the audience, he was also sending out tweets in real time.

These days you can’t hide behind your byline,” says Shirley Brady, agreeing that Twitter serves a role as a mediator between reporter and reader. “No matter what your specialty is, these days you are forced into the public arena. You have to really engage with your readers and you can’t just publish your story and move on to the next one. You have to keep the conversation going…which can be a pain when you’re done and on to a new assignment.”

Sklar, who (like Carvin) sent out tweets during the panel, finds herself more and more concerned by the fact that the pendulum of interest has swung toward more “fun, sassy content” and away from “long, boring, investigative stuff.”

Undoubtedly, our press is at a very important moment — moving to a new platform, a new form of news. For Rosen, it was the open source revolution, the birth of Wikipedia, that made him realize how people could collaborate to produce journalism online.


One Response to ““Twitter is journalism’s Obama.” What are journalists talking about these days?”

  1. Adam Gainer Says:

    I think a lot of the “traditional media” is focused on how they can catch up. While we are seeing a migration to more interactive services (twitter, blogging and etc…) they are racing to catch up.

    We are starting to see twitter users and other bloggers becoming sources to the mainstream media. Look at the buffalo new york plane crash.


    he was getting phone calls from major news organizations within minutes of tweeting.

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