Posts Tagged ‘journalists’

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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The Future of News: “Everyone’s a journalist?”

New media, citizen journalism and the growing interaction with traditional media has been a hot topic the last few days. It started with the sudden news that Queen Fabiola had died. Errr..NOT. A guy who called himself Jos Joskens had posted the message on the new website for citizen journalism, an initiative by Belga. “Queen Fabiola died when she heard that Laurent and Claire were getting a divorce.” A message that was mistakenly sent to all Belgian press. “An annoying beginner’s mistake”, said the Director of Belga. But a mistake that shows us that journalism is changing – resulting in a lot of discussion around the topic.

There’s no way around it: consumers simply want what they want, when they want it. Moreover, they have an insatiable appetite for celebrities and human-interest stories. The controversy around the Iranian elections suddenly lost all attention when Michael Jackson died. A lot of media have decided content needs to be “sexed up” with sensationalized angles. Even the BBC has come under fire for dumbing down its content in pursuit of ratings, taking a more populist approach. Old journalists didn’t have to worry about people paying attention to you. But now that journalists are online, and social media is everywhere, they really need to work hard to get some attention. Because thanks to the internet, everyone’s a journalist…

Or not?

We all certainly have the tools to get our message out – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, you name it. But does such access make us a new type of journalist? What does the future hold for a profession if anyone can take it up whenever they choose?

There’s no talk of “citizen doctors” or “citizen architects”. Yet, plenty of lip service is paid to “citizen journalists” these days. The implication is clear: via the internet, anyone can disseminate a story. Anyone can latch onto a piece of gossip or a shocking photo, slap on a sensational headline and send it far and wide.

But does that make them journalists? What’s the difference between an experienced photo journalist on the streets of Tehran, and a protester with a camera phone and a Twitter account? Can they exist in harmony?

“With 80 million bloggers around, and citizens that Twitter, FriendFeed or Facebook quicker than the badly implemented software on their iPhones can handle, information becomes for the first time truly decentralized. Conscious web users have a plethora of tools to share their views, real-life-product tests, opinions and grieves with the inhabitants of the World Wide Web”, says Luc Missinne, Managing Director at Porter Novelli. “News that is aimed to consumers can now easily circumvent journalists and media and hit millions of online users in an eye blink.”

“Corporations scramble around to find creative ways to harness the power of these social media”, says Danny Devriendt, Social Media Expert at Porter Novelli. “There simply is no faster, better or more balanced way to spread information: by the people, for the people, socially controlled by a busy cluster of very critical web users.”

Click here to open the full pdf.

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Marta’s Weekly Twip

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Twitter has become a vital tool for public relations professionals, but many still don’t know how to get the best out of it. In Marta’s Weekly Twips you will find essential tips and information that will help you integrate Twitter into your PR programme.

 

Journalists Do Tweet!

Since the journalists’ community is growing on Twitter, it might be a good idea for us, PR folks, to follow them and consequently build relationships in order to strengthen our pitching efforts.

Finding journalists on Twitter can be quick and easy providing you know where to look. I do 🙂

MediaOnTwitter was the first directory of media outlets and journalists out there. What started as a wiki, later became an online database with more browsing options and features. Not much use for this one in Europe though since it’s very US centered.

mediaontwitter

Muck Rack categorizes journalist activities on twitter. It not only shows the real-time stream of journalists’ tweets but it also allows you to browse journalists by source (publication) and beats (industry) or view featured journalists by each publication. Another great feature of Muck Rack is the real-time ‘trending’ which gives you an idea of what the media is talking about.

muckrack

JournalistTweets is a directory of journalists’ tweets powered by Cision’s Media Database. You can browse the tweets by country and in North America also by industry. When it comes to Europe, currently it only contains UK and Swedish journalists but hopefully more countries will be included soon. 

journalist tweet

Another great way to find journalists on Twitter is to use directories. These have different kind of categories in their database but many of them include journalists. Check out Just Tweet It, WeFollow and Twellow for their Journalists/Media resources.

And don’t forget to give your journalist a call or drop an email once in a while. The ‘old school’ methods are still working  😉

Wanna know more? Need help? Contact Marta Majewska marta.majewska@porternovelli.be.

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