Social Media and User Generated Content For Journalists


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From, UNC Assistant Professor Ryan Thornburg introduces journalists to the opportunities and challenges of using social media and user generated content for news. Learn how to moderate online discussions, comments, etc.

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Social Media and User Generated Content For Journalists

  1. 1. Social Media and User-Generated Content For Journalists: An Introduction Ryan Thornburg University of North Carolina ryan . [email_address] . edu Carroll 219 919-962-4080
  2. 2. Ideas Predate the Internet… <ul><li>Civic Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Community Journalism </li></ul>
  3. 3. … Evolve in to … <ul><li>“ Citizen” Journalism </li></ul>
  4. 4. Buzzword Bingo <ul><li>Citizen Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>User Generated Content </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed Reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Crowd Sourcing </li></ul><ul><li>Pro-Am Journalism </li></ul><ul><li>Open Source Journalism </li></ul>
  5. 5. User Generated Content <ul><li>Anything not created by your staff. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CNN iReport </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Comments on articles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Health discussion boards </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Book reviews on Amazon </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>All of YouTube </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The blogs on Bluffton Today </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Distributed Reporting <ul><li>A report where the staff member gives asks the audience to collect specific information. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Huffington Post’s 2008 Super Delegate Project </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Gasbuddy .com </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Distributed Reporting <ul><li>Works well when seeking standardized information that has not yet been collected in one place. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited Fields </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With Limited Values </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And when it would be impossible or inefficient for one reporting to gather all the data. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Crowd Sourcing <ul><li>You set up the infrastructure to collect information, but you don’t know what you’re looking for. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wired’s Wiki Scanner Project </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hashtags on </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>#dnc08 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li># ch-snow </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Distributed Reporting v. Crowd Sourcing? <ul><li>Distributed Reporting = Staff Led </li></ul><ul><li>Crowd Sourcing = Audience Led </li></ul>
  10. 10. Pro-Am Journalism <ul><li>Written and reported by amateurs or freelance contributors. Edited and produced by professionals. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Huffinton Post’s Off the Bus project </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>OhMyNews </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Open Sourced Journalism <ul><li>A completely transparent reporting and writing project in which anyone who adheres to community standards can shape a single, collaborative project. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>WikiNews </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Those were the buzzwords… <ul><li>… and now for the mantras … </li></ul>
  13. 13. CitJ/UGC Mantras <ul><li>Repeat after me… </li></ul><ul><li>“Journalism is a conversation, not a lecture.” </li></ul><ul><li>“In aggregate, my readers know more than I do.” </li></ul><ul><li>“The People Formerly Known as the Audience” </li></ul>
  14. 14. REMEMBER: These Ideas Predate the Internet <ul><li>Letter to the Editor </li></ul><ul><li>Talk Radio </li></ul><ul><li>Tip Lines </li></ul><ul><li>“ Man on the Street” Interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Reader Panels </li></ul><ul><li>Good ol’ fashioned quotes </li></ul>
  15. 15. Rely on Precedence to Overcome Obstacles … <ul><ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Civility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Liability </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Obstacle: Accuracy <ul><li>The PFKAA will use media for their own purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>JaredRemembered .com </li></ul><ul><li>MartinLutherKing .org </li></ul><ul><li>Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf </li></ul><ul><li>Inaccurate vanity edits to Wikipedia </li></ul>
  17. 17. Obstacle: Civility <ul><li>Racism, sexism and off-topic posts are the scourge of online community. </li></ul><ul><li>Kathy Sierra </li></ul><ul><li>Online comments following murder of UNC study body president </li></ul>
  18. 18. Obstacle: Civility <ul><li>Godwin’s Law </li></ul><ul><li>“ As [an online] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Mike Godwin, </li></ul><ul><li>General Counsel </li></ul><ul><li>Wikimedia Foundation </li></ul>
  19. 19. Obstacle: Liability <ul><li>Section 230 </li></ul><ul><li>“ No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Whatever that means…) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Solutions in Analogies… <ul><li>Call back letter writers to verify authenticity. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid anonymous sources without a compelling reason. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask unknown interview subjects for name, age, hometown, profession, etc. </li></ul>
  21. 21. … and Community Structure <ul><li>Identification </li></ul><ul><li>You have options for various levels of verification. </li></ul><ul><li>Anonymity </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudonyms </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudonyms with unpublished, unverified email </li></ul><ul><li>Pseudonyms with unpublished, verified e-mail </li></ul><ul><li>Real names with published e-mail </li></ul>
  22. 22. … and Community Structure <ul><li>Verification </li></ul><ul><li>Complete fact check </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-publication review (best for low-volume sites) </li></ul><ul><li>Post-publication review of all items (for medium volume) </li></ul><ul><li>Post-publication review of flagged items (for high volume … like police on the highway.) </li></ul>
  23. 23. … and Community Structure <ul><li>Social Norms </li></ul><ul><li>Provide clear community standards up front. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow users to flag violations of standards. </li></ul><ul><li>Live where you work. Participate and lead the conversation. </li></ul><ul><li>More carrot, less stick. Reward good UGC by giving it prominence. </li></ul><ul><li>Promptly delete offending posts and ban offending users. Avoid the broken window problem . </li></ul>
  24. 24. Balance Two Competing and Long-Held Journalistic Values <ul><li>Voice to the voiceless </li></ul><ul><li>v. </li></ul><ul><li>Accuracy </li></ul>