Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

A Look into the Future…

October 29, 2009

It is time to take a glance into the future. I have already discussed some of the things that journalists and journalism organizations should and should not do when it comes to new social media.
Here is a post that gives examples of journalism organizations doing a good job with new social media. Among the things journalists can do is blog (which I also have a post on), use Twitter (which, again, I have a post on), and be open with the people who are going to consume the content that you produce.

For journalism organizations, it is important and essential to allow their talent the ability to interact with their respective consumers. It is also important for the organization as a whole to embrace social media and be proactive in using it.

Traditional journalism could die, but it doesn’t have to– as long as journalists stay current with the times and technology, their ability to report valuable news will always be needed.

I also saw some bad examples of journalism organizations using social media. I wrote a post on organizations regulating their talents use of social media, and did two hole posts on ESPN, the “worldwide leader in sports,” and their usage of social media, both good and bad.

News organizations feel threatened by the web. That is no secret. But neglecting the web, putting restrictions on employees who do use the web, and fearing the power of the web is no way to fix their problems.

In today’s world, people are looking for an interactive experience. They are looking for all of their news to be delivered as fast as possible. They are looking for ease of use, and a more personal experience. Overall, they are looking for good, credible, up date journalism.

And people aren’t willing to do a lot of the things that they used to do in order to get good, credible journalism. According to a Text Technologies article called “The Grand Discussion on the Future of Journalism,” people are no longer willing to pay for news content and also have no desire to hear or see traditional advertising.

These facts, as the article states, have destroyed to old business model of journalism.

But there is hope, because there are ways that journalists and journalism organizations can change their business model in order to keep their readership/ viewership.

Martin Langeveld, in his article entitled “Building Networks Around News,” Langeveld says that social media can has the ability to connect journalists with consumers and advertisers.

Langeveld also lists features that will help a journalist adopted social network. The list includes Groups formed based on content, RSS feeds, and content recommendations based on profiles.

There is still hope for journalists. Today’s technology world, contrary to poplar belief, has not eliminated the field of and desire for good journalism.

With a proactive, efficient and committed an approach to social media, journalists will continue to do what they have always done: deliver the news.

Teachers Need to Focus on New Media

October 26, 2009

As I have stated over and over again in this blog, journalists, and journalism in general, will not survive without an acceptance and understanding of new social media.

The good thing is that generally, people within the industry realize this. Blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, podcasts, and YouTube videos are all being used by sports journalists across the country, and around the world.

Another encouraging fact is that future journalists are being taught the importance of new social media, and also how to use new social media.When I say future journalists, I mean people like myself who are studying journalism.

According to Barb Dybwad in her article entitled “University Makes Twitter a Required Class for Journalism Students,” journalism students at Griffifth University are required to take a class that discusses how to use Twitter, and why it is important.

twitter-class

According to Dybwad, university officials said more and more employers are looking for social media savvy employees.

Kim Pearson, in her articled called “What do journalism students need to know?,” talked to Mindy McAdams, a Professor at the University of Florida Journalism School. McAdams said that she has her students do projects involving 2 minute audio clips, online ethics case studies and XHTML tags and basic CSS.

These are all valuable tools for the “new” journalist. The fact that these tools are being taught in journalism schools is a good sign for the future of the sports journalism industry.

Vadim Lavrusik, who is  a new media student at Columbia University, wrote an article called “10 Ways Journalism Schools are Teaching Social Media.”  Among the many things in his list, Lavrusik says that schools are teaching students how to publish with social tools, crowdsource, gather news online, build a personal brand and also, build an online community.

Years ago, content like this would have never been taught in universities. Today, Professors, students and administrators are realizing the overall trend toward new media, and are teaching their students accordingly.

Alfred Hermida, in his article entitled “Journalism Students Turn to Social Media,” says that there is some resistance from students when teachers preach the importance of social media. However, Hermida says that if journalism students don’t embrace social media, then they won’t be journalists for very long, if at all.

And why wouldn’t you? As a journalism student, is constantly pounded into your head that it is extremely hard to become established as a journalists, mostly for lack of real opportunity. Online journalism is the perfect way to get your word out there, and allows the process of recognition to be a lot shorter and easier.

Journalists need to look at social media, and new technology in general, as an opportunity, not a hinderance. It is good to see that journalism schools are acknowledging this, and are teaching their students the new way of journalism.

This will help journalists, and the journalism industry in general, survive down the line.

Will Women’s Sports Get a Boost from New Social Media?

October 20, 2009

As I have mentioned before in this blog, new social media technology is becoming a dominant force in sports journalism.  This technology is changing both the way sports are reported and who is reporting them. The question is, are the types of sports being covered changing?

This video is a lecture by Marie Harden, Rachel Blount and Angela Ruggiero called “Facing off Over Facebook: The Impact of Social Media in Women Sports.”

While this video talks about the hardships faced by women athletes, it also goes into great depth about the amount and type of coverage female athletes receive.  The lecturers state that women athletes get only 6 to 8 percent of sports coverage when they represent 40 percent of athletes nationwide. Also, they state that  they are portrayed in both “ambivalent” and “sexual” ways.

These lecturers have a huge problem with the lack of coverage, as they should be.

However, the revolution that has occurred with new social media provides a glimmer of hope for female athletics. In an article by Marie Hardin called “Does ‘New Media’ Bring New Attitudes Toward Women’s Sports?,” Hardin discusses the opportunities that social media provide for female athletes. These opportunities could bring more attention to women’s sports, supply more viewers to women’s sporting events, and possibly put female athletes on a level playing field with male athletes when it comes to respect.

Hardin isn’t the only person to have recognized this opportunity. Q McCall, in her article entitled “On Writing: How Might Advances in Social Media Influence Women’s Sports Coverage?,” says that while the opportunity is there, it has yet to be taken advantage of.  McCall says that there is no evidence to support that the way women sports are covered has changed, even though new social media has the “capacity” to do so.

In this video, journalist Rachel Blount of The Minneapolis Star Tribune says that social media is a great medium to reach out to fans, but the misuse of social media can have a negative impact.

So what must people do, male or female, to enhance the amount of female sports that is covered nationwide? And what role can new social media play in that change?

Well, the best way to start implementing any social media is to do it well, do it often, and do it consistently. Women sports have battled the lack of coverage for so long, and using social media to reach out to fans journalists will only help them. Sports journalists want to cover things that are newsworthy, and getting fans and attention to games will help female athletes make their games newsworthy.

However, Hardin and McCall are right. New social media is a great opportunity. But it is hard work. And until everyone involved in women athletics gets on the same page, female sports will suffer from the same lack of coverage.

I hope that these female athletes get the message.

The Citizen Sports Journalist

October 14, 2009

In today’s world, opportunity is abound. With all of the new technology available, anyone, if they put their mind to it, can do pretty much anything.

This is no different in the world of sports journalists, and journalists in general. With all of the new social media around, a new term has evolved: “citizen journalist.” A citizen journalist is an average person, who uses new technology and social media to report and write news or sports stories, without having the professional title of journalist and without being under the employ of any journalistic company.

This trend is no mainstream yet, but the readership of many of these entrepreneurial citizen journalists has.

How do mainstream media outlets, such as major newspapers or top market broadcast news stations, feel about this emerging trend? The obvious answer is that they don’t like it, and many media outlets don’t. However, one major paper, the Washington Times, has embraced citizen journalism.

The Times, according to an article by Jennifer Harper, will place some for work done by citizen journalists in the A section of each days paper. The Times is doing this to expand their reach, and get more of a local voice in the paper.

This is a refreshing approach, and shows that the Times not only believes in printing the best, most relevant information they can find, but also that they, unlike many other newspapers, are embracing social media trends, instead of hiding from them.

But citizen journalists are not just working for the mainstream media, they are competing with it, through their own news websites and blogs.

The Bleacher Report, according to an article by Adam Ostrow entitled “Bleacher Report Launches Citizen Journalism for Sports: Raises Series A,”  has notorious fans write blogs about all of the different sports and professional leagues. They are also now implementing more citizen journalism, where any fan of any team can write on the site.

These are real people, without a degree from Northwestern or the University of Missouri in journalism, writing stories that are being read at a high rate by the general public.

MLB Trade Rumors is a site developed by Tim Dierkes, another average joe, that posts every rumor of a trade, coach hiring, coach firing, free agent signing, etc., in Major League Baseball.

Warpath Confidential is another citizen journalism site run by John Pappas. This is more localized citizen journalism, as Pappas and his small staff write about the Washington Redskins.

All three of these sites are excellent examples of citizen journalism, and all have a large readership and following.

However, just because these sites have made citizen journalism work doesn’t mean it is easy. Zachary Seward of Nieman Journalism Lab chimes in with 5 tips for aspiring citizen journalists who want to start up their own operation.

1. Recruit people for a mission, not a concept. Seward is trying to say that citizen journalism is a time commitment, and people will only commit their time if they have interest in the cause.

2. Pick stories that are suited to a crowd. In other words, don’t send a lot of people to a story that could be covered by one person.

3. Pick stories that are uniquely valuable. Seward says that journalism pros will cover most of the events anyways, so do something different in your story to distinguish it.

4. Keep track of the crowd. Seward says to always pay attention to what your readership is thinking and saying. This idea goes a long way in all journalism, social media, etc.

5. Don’t worry about what it’s called. In Sewards mind, journalism is journalism. Reporting is reporting. So don’t get discouraged by the label.

These are all good tips, and shows that any one, through the use of social media, can become a journalist. Also, the entire idea of citizen journalism levels the playing field between Citizen journalists and professional journalists, and allows all ideas, opinions and reports the chance to be read.

Social Media Policies: The Bad

October 7, 2009

Where there is Yin, there is Yang. Where there is up, there must be down. And, where there is good use of social media, there is bad use of social media.

Two sports media outlets have recently implemented policies that are bad examples of using social media tools. This is bad for the sports journalists at these organizations, and serve as a contrast to the good use of social media that I examined in my last post.

The first organization that has had a recent slip-up with social media is ESPN. ESPN, as I said in an earlier post, is Mecca for sports journalists, and does many things well in their uses of new media.

However, ESPN recently came out with a social media policy that prohibits ESPN employees from doing many of the things that they had been doing on social media outlets.

The people at Pro Football Talk broke down ESPN’s policy pretty well. Some of the major points is that ESPN talent must get permission from a supervisor before posting information on a personal social media outlet, and also that ESPN talent is urged to use discretion before posting and keep in mind that they are representing ESPN at all times.

Putting guidelines on employees when it comes to Twitter takes away much of the point of Twitter, as it is based on originality, spontaneity and immediate information. This policy hurts, more than anyone, the sports journalists under ESPN’s employ.

In an article entitled “ESPN takes Social Media Guidelines Just a Bit Too Far or How to Stunt Your Employee’s Growth” on “PR 2.0” by Serena Ehrlich, the point is made that the talent at ESPN could greatly suffer from this policy.

She says that ESPN’s rules inhibit their employees from growing their online visibility and reputation.

ESPN is based on its talent, and if they no longer are getting the best sports journalists to come work for them, then their viewer-ship, and therefore revenue, could decline.

The Washington Post also recently came out with a social media policy.

In article by Staci Kramer called “WaPo’s Social Media Guidelines Paint Staff Into Virtual Corner; Full Text of Guidelines,” Kramer outlines the policy. The policy focuses on being a “Washington Post journalist at all times,” and not unveiling any social information or opinions.

The Post’s Ombudsman Andrew Alexander wrote his weekly column about the new policy, where he outlined some key points and seems to support it.

The question is, why? Why are these two titans of sports journalism, and journalism in general, doing this to their journalists? How is the public supposed to trust the people we get our information form if the people who hired them don’t?

This is ancient thinking, and will hurt these two organizations in the long run. Social media, more than anything is about creating a conversation. In an article by John Mihalik called “Mutual Purpose: Smart Social Media Marketing,” he believes that conversation is essential for “engagement, and that social media can be a key factor in that.

Real conversations are not screened, and are not checked by a supervisor. They are with real people, and in todays world, with social media, these conversations are to be had with consumers.

ESPN and the Washington Post are not allowing true conversations with the people who consume their content, and in the wrong run, they will pay for it.

Social Media Policies: The Good

October 6, 2009

As I have stated numerous times before on this blog, sports journalists’ livelihood relies heavily on their companies use of new social media. Like most things in life, some people do things well, and others do not.

In this post, I will discuss two newspapers that are using social media to their advantage, and therefore helping their sports journalists (and entire staffs, for that matter) keep their jobs. These two papers are the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune.

First, the LA TImes. As Chris O’Brien of Knight Digital Media Center blogs in his post entitled “LA Times Embraces, Chases Social Media,” the LA Times is one of the first newspapers to embrace new social media and create new jobs in the newsroom. That job, which was taken by Andrew Nystrom, is titled “Senior Producer, Social Media.”

Nystrom states that the Times is using social media to display their best work and listen to the larger conversations on the web.

O’Brien thinks this is smart. I agree.

They are engaging their customers with real conversations, and this new position within the Times’ infrastructure shows their dedication to interactivity.

Their plan has worked, as, according to this blog post, the Times’ online audience has grown 143 percent in the past year.

The second newspaper with its head on straight is The Chicago Tribune. Just like the Times, the Tribune has tried and succeeded in increasing the traffic to its main website, with an 8 percent increase in page views, according to the paper’s Todd Andrlik.

According to Rafael Marquez in his article entitled “What’s the Purpose of Social Media,” web site traffic is essential to corporate success and is enhanced greatly through social media tools such as social bookmarking, social profile site, and social video sites.

The Tribune has gotten creative with their use of social media. In Jennifer Jones’ Speak Media Blog, she posts that the Tribune has a “social media task force,” which is composed of four people: two coordinators; one managing editor; and one social media strategist.

According to the post, which is entitled “Chicago Trib get Social Media Right: Increases Readership,” Jones goes on to state that the Tribune has established an avatar to represent the paper called Colonel Tribune.

Colonel tribune

Colonel Tribune has been an effective face of the paper, and has an increasing following on Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter.

Both of these newspapers have embraced social media, and even hired a team specifically devoted to incorporating social media into the company. In fact, one of Nystrom’s goals at the LA Times is to teach other people within the newsroom how to use social media tools.

Sports Journalism, as I have said before, can and hopefully will be saved by the acceptance of social media. This makes me wonder why other newspapers aren’t using social media more, and how long journalists at such papers will be able to survive as long as social media tools are neglected.

ESPN: The World Wide Leader in New Social Media?

October 4, 2009

ESPN is the self- proclaimed world-wide leader in sports. They have many different channels, a ton of different talent and former professional athletes under their employ and also have an extensive website that has, among tons of other things, a home page for each professional sports team and almost every college team (basketball and football).

ESPN has grown exponentially as a company since  it started in 1979. It is now the face of American sports for most people, and is also attempting to spread its brand worldwide. ESPN considers itself to be on the cutting edge, which is both impressive and essential in the world of sports journalism.

ESPN, which funnily enough isn’t an acronym for anything (I found that out today and thought it was too interesting to be left out of this post), has embraced new social media and has used it in many different ways to enhance customer satisfaction.

While looking through website, I found tons of different uses of social media. Here they are:

ESPN radio is broadcasted all over the nation. Not only do they have tons of different local shows on their air, but they also have some national shows that even take up some of their mid-day television time. ESPN radio is also available online with podcasts.

– ESPN has some of the most respected columnists in the nation on their “team.” Awards winner like John Clayton, Tim Kurkjian and Peter Gammons not only write columns for the website and for ESPN the Magazine, but also keep up with their respective blogs. Almost every ESPN writer has a blog and ESPN customers can read blogs that cover every bit of sports imaginable.

– ESPN has many different channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPNNEWS. On these channels, they have a lot of original programming to go with the many different highlight packages and sports video stories that they produce. On the website, you can find tons of different video, ranging from full episodes of Pardon the Interruption to individual highlight packages of every game that took place the night before.

ESPN Sportsnation is ESPN’s newest way of using social media. Sportsnation includes message boards, polls, widgets, and so on, and truly demonstrates ESPN embracing interactivity. ESPN Sportsnation is also a show which airs during their daytime programming.

– ESPN also has a message board on the home page for each professional and major college team. This board, which is of the San Francisco 49ers, is just one example of fans of a particular team being able to talk to each other about the major happenings with the team.

– ESPN has really stepped up to the social media plate with ESPN 360. ESPN 360 is online channel that has live broadcasts of live games. This is yet another example of ESPN catering to the needs of the sports fan who doesn’t have the opportunity or time to watch a game live.

– Finally, ESPN has reached such a status where all of their personalities, whether its SportsCenter anchors, game analysts, or writers, have reached celebrity level. That said, of ESPN’s people have Twitter accounts, and also use social media outlets like Facebook and MySpace. This further allows ESPN customers to get up-to-date sports news.

From a sports journalist’s perspective, ESPN is Mecca. While living on the cutting edge, a sports journalist under ESPN’s employ can use social media to get his or her name out there through chats, blogs, radio appearances, columns, TV appearances, etc.

In a blog post by Danny Brown called “The Continuum Theory of Social Media,” Brown states that “the currency of social media is a human conversation.” 

ESPN is creating more and more conversations with its customers, which in the world of sports journalism, does in fact make them the worldwide leader is social media.