Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Twitter, a threat to a journalist’s personal brand?

By Christian Remon

Following the debate at BJIT last Thursday, I was surprised by some old-fashioned statements that certain panel members put forward. What struck me the most was that not all communication professionals are convinced of the added value of new media for both journalists and media companies as a brand.

The debate got heated when Pol Deltour, national secretary of the Vlaamse Vereniging van Journalisten, stated that Twitter is a threat to the journalist’s personal brand and a danger for the credibility of the media he is working for. In his eyes, social media changes the way journalists are perceived: as marketers rather than journalists. But haven’t journalists always been marketers? Aren’t we, in fact, all marketers of our personal brand? Like Alain Gerlache, journalist at RTBF, says:  “Journalists are a brand”. They are the face of a media channel! People read newspapers because journalists are writing qualitative articles about topics that interest them in a way that pleases them.

Traditional media shouldn’t worry, good content is still king. But the game has become more complex.  Accept the fact that scoops no longer exist as speed is the new normal in a world where people are 24/7 confronted with an information overload. Have faith in your journalists. They are capable of using the same common sense they use in their stories online! So please, embrace new media as a way to leverage the brand.

Frankly, I can’t possibly think of a better way than to let journalists syndicate the good content they and their colleagues produce and engage in a discussion afterwards. This leads to more active engagement from the audience and helps build long-term relationships with them as a consumer. Rather than fearing new media, journalists and media companies should try to use them strategically to leverage their (personal) brand, build credibility and establish authority.

Just so you know, Reuters’ social media policy embraces the fact that journalists have (a desire for) a personal brand.

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Google sponsoring the future of digital news

by Danny Devriendt (this post was originally posted here)

I’m getting a bit tired of it. Too many journalists I know go all dismissive over digital media. Too many bloggers I know think that having 16 readers (and a horsehead) visiting their blog occasionally makes them directly eligible for the Pulitzer Prize. *sigh*

As the old adagio says: “Ignoti nulla cupido” – you cannot love what you do not know. I think the current journalist generation needs to understand digital media better. A growing number of people, including a whole upcoming generation, are consuming a big part of the news through digital channels. Insufficient knowledge on these channels, inadequate presence on these channels, and a defensive reaction to a new medium from the news-professionals would be catastrophic for the quality of the current and future news. Though I see a growing number of journalists toe-dipping in social media, most embrace it in a worrying way: mostly as an extra listening channel, or broadcasting opportunity. Most journalists are not trained into public dialogue and engagement possibilities. A lot of them also do not possess the necessary data processing- and analytical skills to process crowdsourcing in a safe way.

On the other hand, it worries me that a whole wide range of bloggers reached “God-Credibility” status amongst a broad audience. But most of these online writers do not use (or know) the journalistic deontological codes and practices.  Source controlling, second opinions, and balanced viewpoints are most often ripped out of the equation, leaving a very biased and unverified opinion piece.

The non-critical online consumer is –unfortunately- unable to distinguish quality content from doubtful or false information. It’s time to cross-train as well journalists and bloggers on each other’s skills and possibilities. I would love to see bloggers adhere more to a journalistic code of conduct and I think journalists should understand (and respect) the online environment more.

The future is going to be a net based information society. I was intrigued and positively surprised to see that search giant Google is spending a 2.7 million dollar grant to the International Press Institute to explore the future of digital news. This money comes on top of an earlier donation of 5 million dollar for investigating the new way of journalism.

Journalism is changing fast. And as news businesses experiment with new ways of creating and delivering journalism in the digital age, Google is keen to play its part. (-) We seek to find and fund breakthrough ideas that will have a lasting impact on the future of digital news in communities across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” says Peter Barron, director of external relations for Google EMEA.

I just hope that the institutions, media corporations and schools that work with, or educate/form journalists will do a similar effort. Though I applaud Google’s initiative, I’d rather have a critical blogger/journalist generation investigating and taking up the role of the fourth power that is NOT Google funded…. :-)

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