Social media in a tsunami

March 11, 2011

This morning I woke up (without an alarm…bliss!), and went over to my computer. Switched it on, and headed onto my emails and then Facebook – yes, I seem to be obsessed.  I’d not switched the radio or television on, and I definitely hadn’t seen the papers.

Checking out the homepage, my heart did a little flip when the live feed. One was from my aunty (or second cousin once removed…we’re related anyway…) who said this:

Gill Montgomery

Dan is ok , but I’m not ! Think I need a stiff drink … Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in japan….

Dan is Gill’s youngest son, who is over in Japan at the minute as part of his University course. What the heck had happened?!

As I looked down the feed it was clear it was something big, but nobody was saying exactly what. I went straight over to BBC online and found that whilst I’d been blissfully enjoying a lie in, a huge Tsunami had hit Japan.

It’s a tragedy, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the disaster.

What has struck me though, is that social media was the first thing that flagged up to me that something big had happened. And of all the social media, it was Facebook!

News channels will be covering the disaster live over the next fews hours, and following it for days as relief efforts go into full swing.

So how will they harness social media in their coverage?

No doubt regional news will be looking for local people out in Japan that are willing to talk about what has happened and give first hand accounts of the event, twitter feeds will be monitored to check up on rescue attempts and the search for missing loved ones, and citizen journalism will really be exploited via uploaded videos and photos from those in the area.

For journalists in the UK, social media is a god send in covering these events. It adds another, more human interest element to coverage – after all it’s the people and emotion that makes a good news story great.

We will also look to social media as days progress (and depending on the extent of the damage) to fundraising groups that will be set up and aid relief is sent to the area.

My greatest sympathies with all who are affected by this.

Looking back to Facebook, it seems that Dan is ok…

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Where are the boundaries?

March 5, 2011

Throughout this assessment it has become clear that whilst the class was split into group topics, in fact in the media, it’s practically impossible to separate them.

Press freedom, impartiality, public service broadcasting and social media are all interwoven, and are set to become more so as technology continues to advance at such a rapid rate.

Social Media has an important part to play in the future of news and journalism, and as the research has shown, it’s vital to remember that with all it’s advantages, social media also brings with it a tidal wave of responsibility. To check the facts, to disassociate personal opinion from the broadcasters view, and to ensure output is accurate and well researched…I think that even with cuts, the legal departments jobs are safe!

The future of journalism and social media…well, who knows? It’s clear that newsrooms are embracing it to interact with their audience, allowing them to ask the questions they want to ask and also to seek out stories. Let’s use it to our advantage.

One man who does like to ponder the future of journalism, is Adam Westbrook (one of the very helpful to contributors to our presentation Twitter discussion). Check out his blog and see what he has to say:

Adam Westbrook:: online video & entrepreneurial journalism


“Social media for journalists is like dreams coming true”

February 9, 2011

Social media for journalists could be like sweet candies and/or dreams coming true… But what we see or read is not necessary facts.

We talk about less privacy and more opinion and speculation. Daisy Griffith, social media strategy and digital content for BBC and others, goes through different ethic aspects that journalists should bear in mind.


The Wonders of Facebook

February 8, 2011

BBC’s Panorama was on Egypt lastnight. There was an interesting scene where Jane Corbin was interviewing a couple of middle class Egyptian women who spoke of how Facebook saved their country.

If you click on the link below, it will take you to the BBC Panorama webpage. Though it is interesing, if you don’t want to watch it all, just move the timeline cursor to about 19.30 and watch from this time.

Panorama Egypt


Ethics and editorial guidelines (I)

February 2, 2011

 

Over the past few years, news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and BBC have issued protocols for staff on networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. They have done so for personal blogs and web sites as well.

So we are talking about new editorial policies for social media. The reason why they did so would probably be controversies sparked over reporters’ tweets. Today, journalists stress the fact that their tweets do not represent their employers’ point of view, but theirs and only theirs. Read the rest of this entry »


Social media outlets – now and the future

February 2, 2011

By means of research for this blog, it is safe to say that social media is increasingly being adopted throughout the media industry and will continue to do so. 

When watching the news, the presenters now ask us to tweet our thoughts and opinions to their twitter accounts; when listening to the radio, we are invited to do the same and write comments on their facebook page ; newspapers now have their own social media correspondents like the Guardian’s ‘Networker,’ or in the ‘I’ newspaper, they have a section dedicated to readers tweets and a ‘blogosphere,’ where they have taken sections from some of their readers’ blogs. Furthermore, charities are using social media to spread their news fast and efficiently and to connect with the public and the interested community. Social media even makes news. The most recent news in the UK is that Twitter can be used by journalists in the courts.

Who knows about the future of social media? It is developing fast in the world of news and is constantly being used in different and new ways. Maybe, soon, these programmes will be in 3D, or we will start seeing holograms of people commenting live on TV news programmes through a new social media application… watch this space.


Social Media at Shelterbox

February 2, 2011

I am looking into the different media outlets that adopt social media and the ways that they do it. My last post briefly introduced how the Sports industry uses sites like Facebook and Twitter as important elements to spread news fast not only to those within it but to the fans and public too.

This post shall look at how more and more now charities are adopting social media to spread their news to the public, their sponsors and those who make donations.  There seems to be a new industry now opening up for fellow journalists within the charity sector. As well as PR jobs, there are job titles available now like ‘Head of News,’ which I saw advertised recently on the Cancer Macmillian website.

Shelterbox is a charity based in Cornwall. It provides disaster relief to countries where naturals disasters have happened, like extreme floods or earthquakes. Tommy Tonkins is the Communications Officer there and he talks about the huge impact that social media has made on the charity in terms of spreading the news and connecting more people to the organisation:

“Social media has enabled ShelterBox to engage and interact with our supporters in a way charities have traditionally struggled with. By fostering and developing a wider conversation with our ‘audience’ through different social media channels, we’ve been able to raise global awareness of our mission. Our use of social media has empowered our supporters and engendered a sense of community on a global scale.”

“In terms of spreading news, nothing can rival the immediacy of social media. Our Response Teams tweet live from disaster zones as the situation unfolds around them providing a real-time snap shot of what life is like on the ground. Social media has revolutionised the way we communicate and the way we consume information.”