top article from editor and publisher:
The New York Times, however, is perhaps the most active social-networking newspaper. Its main Twitter account, which notes nearly every story posted on its main site, surpassed one million followers in June; its Facebook page boasts about 460,000 fans. In late May the Grey Lady appointed its first social media editor, veteran newswoman Jennifer Preston. While some staffers worried she was going to be something of a Twitter and Facebook cop, Preston says her job is to coordinate all uses of social media.
“Clearly, there are a lot of conversations and a lot of sharing on these sites, and it is important to be part of the conversation,” adds Preston, who admits she’s still learning the ropes.
But what are the pitfalls? Concerns range from taking copyrighted or private material off of a Facebook page for use in a story to twittering opinions or misinformation when the rush is on to break and update news. “It is not quite clear what the right use is,” says Andrew Nystrom, a senior producer for social and emerging media at the Los Angeles Times. “If you aren’t a friend of someone on Facebook, should you be pulling photos off Facebook? We err on the side of caution.”
Fatigue also warrants consideration. Along with writing for print, which most journalists at newspapers still do, they are updating Web stories and often blogging. Add in Twitter updates of stories and observations, maintaining Facebook or MySpace pages, and checking those of others they are “following” or “friending” and the task-juggling only increases — all as newsrooms continue to cut staff.
“If your day gets longer and you have fewer people checking behind you and you have more to do than before, it is absolutely delusional to think the journalism itself isn’t suffering,” says Keith Woods, dean of faculty at The Poynter Institute. But he adds that the social-media outlets are useful, calling them “traditional tools of journalism on steroids.”
and didn’t i get a complete taste of that ‘suffering’ this week. see completely pants day.
there’s a lot more to this most excellent piece by joe strupp. definitely worth taking in the whole thing here.
at the gold coast bulletin, and goldcoast.com.au, we have an official Twitter account (twitter.com/GCBulletin) and about 8 of our journos have accounts … i’m twitter.com/SwannellGCB.
we try not to just post links to stories, cos that gets old pretty quick, but we do try to engage the readers in conversations. it’s starting to work too.