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Brown

ISOJ 2012

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Brown

  1. 1. Carrie Brown-Smith University of Memphis @brizzyc #MEMSTORM: TWITTER AS A COMMUNITY-DRIVEN BREAKING NEWS REPORTING TOOL
  2. 2. APRIL 2011
  3. 3. HEIGHT OF THE STORM • #memstorm impressions reached 1.4 million • Over 200,000 Twitter accounts were reached • 0.01 percent of all tweets on Twitter were tagged with #memstorm • **Source: Aaron Prather, local technology entrepreneur and CEO of startup StiQRd
  4. 4. RESEARCH QUESTIONS • How did the hashtag come into use in Memphis as a way of reporting on the storm? • What are some of the uses & gratifications of Twitter use during a breaking news situation such as #memstorm? What motivates the public to participate? • How is this new system of “ambient journalism” affecting local journalism? What kinds of ongoing role can journalists play in this increasingly participatory, always-on news environment?
  5. 5. AMBIENT JOURNALISM/PARTICIPATORY JOURNALISM • News today is all around us, all the time, often held in our hands in the form of a mobile device, but we are also not simply receivers of this news but also contributors to it as we go about our day and share observations and information with the world. - Alfred Hermida
  6. 6. METHODS • Content analysis of 1639 tweets tagged with the #memstorm hashtag during April 2011 storms • Interviews with prolific hashtag users and local journalists • Survey • Participant observation
  7. 7. R1: How did the hashtag come into use in Memphis as a way of reporting on the storm?
  8. 8. LOCAL TECH ENTREPRENEUR AARON PRATHER PRESENTS AT IGNITE MEMPHIS
  9. 9. PRATHER:
  10. 10. FOXSTORM VS. #MEMSTORM
  11. 11. THE BACKLASH
  12. 12. BE NICE, SOME SAY
  13. 13. R2: What are some of the uses & gratifications of Twitter use during a breaking news situation such as #memstorm? What motivates the public to participate?
  14. 14. KEY FINDINGS • Sharing news and information is, not surprisingly, a key motivation for using Twitter/the hashtag. • Direct observations/eyewitness accounts is most popular, followed by more general information e.g. watches and warnings.
  15. 15. NEWS AND INFORMATION Tweet Was… Number in sample Witnessing/Direct Observations 239 Sharing general news/info 46 Includes link 10 From newspaper 4 From television 9 From undetermined source/other 22 From NWS or independent 1
  16. 16. Retweet was… Number Witnessing 45 News/Information 317 Includes link 23 From newspaper 21 From television 180 From undetermined/other 18 From independent/NWS 75
  17. 17. #MEMFLOOD LATER THAT YEAR
  18. 18. KEY FINDINGS CONTINUED • Connecting with others/building community is another key motivation for using the hashtag. • Related: Sharing feelings, expressing fears, etc. • Joking around • Asking questions/seeking help • Talking about Twitter/the hashtag/Foxstorm vs. Memstorm • Praising journalists for their storm coverage
  19. 19. CONNECTING WITH OTHERS/BUILDING COMMUNITY • “I feel like I have company, a community, and we are all going through something together.” • “It gives a sense of comfort to be able to talk to other people, because I am so afraid of tornados.” • “Twitter has a huge advantage over traditional sources because it creates more of a community. Everyone is looking out for everyone else during these severe weather events.”
  20. 20. JOKING AROUND
  21. 21. ASKING QUESTIONS • “Wondering what #memstorm and #memtraffic is like in midtown since I have to go to work.” • “We have people [in our restaurant] concerned about Hernando. Anyone know is Hernando is going to be in any trouble at all? #memstorm” • “Sirens at work. Can anyone give me an update on the Germantown/Collierville area? #memstorm”
  22. 22. How is this new system of “ambient journalism” affecting local journalism? What kinds of ongoing role can journalists play in this increasingly participatory, always-on news environment?
  23. 23. ROLE OF JOURNALISTS, IN BRIEF (SURVEYS/INTERVIEWS) • VERIFY • AMPLIFY/CURATE • SHARE INFORMATION USING NEW DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL • ENGAGE WITH AUDIENCE • PROVIDE LOCATION-SPECIFIC INFORMATION
  24. 24. IN APRIL 2011, STILL MOSTLY ONE-WAY, BROADCAST MODEL Tweets Number News/information 280 Total replys 5 Total retweets 38 Of other journalists 31
  25. 25. 80/20 BROADCAST/ENGAGEMENT DURING STORMS; 60/40 NORMAL DAY
  26. 26. RETWEETING WITNESS PHOTOS
  27. 27. WHEN NON-JOURNALISTS WERE ASKED THEIR VIEWS ON ROLE OF JOURNALSIM: • “Journalists can participate by interacting. If they aren’t interacting and just dishing out 140-character bites of news, the advantage is gone and the viewer might as well be reading a news app or watching the weatherman flip his wig. The talkback factor is invaluable.” • “The TV stations in New York are now saying, Tweet us a question, and we will ask it on air. I’ve been telling media here, you know, just use Twitter to ask questions and use Twitter to get information you need. Clearly [journalists] are needed. Clearly their jobs are not going away. Clearly they have the responsibility to report non-biased, factual, checked-out, verified information, but that doesn’t mean they have to break [news] all the time. Their job has to be, we may not be first all the time, but we have to be right. Somebody make break that Whitney Houston died, unconfirmed, because they may know it somehow, but that’s okay, the media has to be okay with that, they have to be, we are trying to verify.” – head of a local marketing firm
  28. 28. VERIFY (NOT A TORNADO)
  29. 29. NEW IN MARCH 2012
  30. 30. CONTACT: Carrie Brown-Smith University of Memphis carrielisabrown@gmail.com @brizzyc

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