The Social Newsroom | Social media and the evolution of journalists’ routines                                             ...
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The Social Newsroom

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Poster presented at the 2012 AEJMC Conference, Chicago.

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The Social Newsroom

  1. 1. The Social Newsroom | Social media and the evolution of journalists’ routines Brian Moritz, Ph.D. student S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University My former job How do reporters use social media in their daily work routines? What’s it all mean?1999 | Attend event, write about it for the next day’s paper. For the most part,2009 | Attend event, blog about it, tweet updates, talk to fans the reporters on Facebook AND write about it for the next day’s paper. interviewed are using social media like a traditional reporting toolWhy we’re here Courtesy The Wired Reporter and using it within traditionalResearch question | journalism norms.How are newspaper journalistsincorporating social media platforms Discussion Sectioninto their work routines? • Social media is becoming an integral part of reporters’ daily work routines. • The journalists interviewed are learning how to use social media to cover their beats, keep tabs on their communities, create conversations with readers and find sources for stories (existing and new). * Reporters are making news decisions faster and faster – often at the scene of an accident or whileLiterature review a meeting is taking place – and making publication decisions on the fly by posting facts, notes and quotes to social media sites. • Suggests a new level of typification (Tuchman, 1978).Journalists’ routinesNews typification (Tuchman, 1978) Journalism and social media News becomes a fluid, two-way 3 Basic Uses In addition to determining which story type an event fits into, a reporter must decide whether a piece of information is noteworthy enough to warrant an online post What are they worried about? – and within that, what kind of online post (Just a sentence? A few process between producers and BREAKING NEWS Stories published bit by bit.Beat system (Hallman, 2005; Meyers, paragraphs? Handle it via Twitter?). Then, after determining if it is consumers (Gleason, 2010; Hermdia, JIM | “You tweet them, you get them on the1992; Sanchez, 2007; Fishman, Acceleration of reporting leads to worthy of an online update, the reporter must determine whether or 2010) Web, you discuss with the editor whether or1980) the spread of misinformation online. not it is then worthy of the print edition. The decision to go online Fits traditional journalism practices not they’re worth a story or folding into with a piece of news is made first, and then a separateSources (Gans, 1979; Sigal, 1973) something.” (Lasorsa, Lewis and Holton, 2012) Online journalism, including social media, Constant demands of social media. decision-making process happens to determine whether or has accelerated the reporting process. JIM | “If you’re making sure you’ve got everything that’s not it is worthy of making the print edition.Objectivity (Schudson, 1978; Soloski, Ambient journalism (Hermdia, 2010) SURVEILLANCE Keep up with what’s JIM said that on 9/11, he was the first reporter in his being tweeted and retweeting it or independently verifying1989) happening on a beat or in a community. • Higher standard for print than for online. Concerns about accuracy (Lasorsa, area to know about Flight 93 because he was it, it’s pretty tough to keep working on your searchable databaseDeadline (Tuchman, 1972; Manning, Lewis and Holton, 2012) JASON | “In the old days, when we had a interviewing his local airport administrator. about public payrolls.” • Social media is another task reporters must do during a political columnist who could just write about2001) Financial (Ahmad, 2007) politics and basically not have any other day “If I can tweet that, that’s a ‘holy work day. job, they could go to county GOP meetings shit’ moment. But what I was able to do Social media demands keep reporters chained to their desks • With the consolidation of beats, layoffs and furloughs, and juggling the competing demands of print and and touch base with those activists and then rather than out circulating their beats. really get the pulse. Twitter is a way for me to was bury it in a story I wrote a couple RON | “(Social media’s) fascinating to read, but it’s no substitute online, a reporters’ job is simply more busy than ever hours later, cause by then everybody for going to the scene and seeing for yourself and talking to people Adding social media to that can be challenging.How did I study it? do that while I’m sitting in a budget hearing because, you know, I’ve got to be responsible who are still moved by whatever they just saw and can tell you • Reporters are receiving little or no guidance from for both of those things.” knew it.” things that the cops aren’t gonna tell you. You’re not going to get editors about how to best use social media on the job. much more than the official story from sitting in front of a screen.” They are learning as they go on their own.METHODS | In-depth interviews were conducted with 17 news DISSEMINATOR Sharing stories and links.reporters at newspapers across the United States. STEPHANIE | “My deadline is all the time. I’m writing all the time.” Social Media & Sources Demographic concerns: Are stories that impact •  the poor or elderly reflected on social media? Reporters who do use social media say they find it useful and helpful to do their jobs.• Reporters worked at newspapers ranging in size from 30,000 to 400,000 Decrease in interpersonal skills daily circulation. These newspapers tend to have significant online Social media is often a starting point for reporters. Future Research Of the 17 reporters interviewed, 16 use social JUDE | “That’s kind of your standard practice now. When among young reporters. presences (unlike smaller, community papers) but are not so big that they media in some manner. The interviews suggest somebody is killed, you know, like a murder or something like that, have dedicated online staffs. that there is no industry-wide standard for how the first thing you do is go to their Facebook page.” reporters use social media as a part of their• Unlike previous studies, which focused on just one newspaper, this study jobs. Reporters are using social media as a new way to examined numerous papers in order to focus on the routines of the connect with old sources. What’s next? profession itself, not of one particular organization. Social media use depends on: Reporters are using social media to engage • Observational study of reporters using Reporters’ beats. directly with readers. social media.• Participants were guaranteed anonymity. Their names, affiliations and beats Reporters’ attitudes toward social media. The interviews suggest that social media has not CINDY | “We’ve found that quite a few people are engaging the are not used in this presentation. This was done to encourage the Editors’ attitudes toward social media. substantially increased the size and scope of the newspaper (via Facebook) whereas they were probably people • Ethnography of 21st century participants’ candor. Pseudonyms are used in the presentation in order to The needs/demands of reporters’ daily work. news net. that wouldn’t have bothered with calling us or emailing us or sending newsrooms. make it more readable. us a letter to the editor. So it’s just a quick, simple format that people * Content analysis or textual analysis of • Reporters are also using social media to build Some use of crowdsourcing, but the practice is not might be more comfortable in communicating with us about our reporters’ tweets and Facebook• Transcripts were analyzed through the use of field notes and reflexive their own personal brands, as well as the widespread. coverage or what we need to be covering.” posts. memos, from which themes were culled. These steps are consistent with brands of their newspapers. grounded-theory methodology (Charmaz, 2006). For more, check out this poster online at: http://bit.ly/SocialNewsroom

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