Great post of ideas from Alfred Hermida, assistant professor at the University of British Columbia’s graduate school of journalism, on how journalism schools should approach the teaching of social media, from newsgathering and verifying social media channels to managing an online presence as a professional.
Teaching social media is more than showing students the mechanics of Twitter. Rather, they should learn how to build a network of relevant followers and how to interact with them to be a better journalist.
In the classroom, we need to stress that social media technologies do not just offer journalists new ways of doing old things. They offer the potential to explore new ways of telling stories, of collaborating and connecting with audiences, of rethinking how we do journalism.
Professor Alfred Hermida reports on today’s conference at the Center for Journalism Ethics at UW-Madison’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, which will look at changing media ethics in an online environment.
At the heart of the ‘New Journalism, New Ethics?’ conference is whether new forms of media require new standards. Or do established ethical principles still apply?
Ahead of the event, the Center has released a report – ‘Ethics for the new investigative newsroom’.
The US-based Online News Association needs to be more global, writes Alfred Hermida, professor of journalism at the University of British Columbia, before setting off to its annual conference.
“One major issue is the dominance of US panelists. While many of these have much to contribute, the ONA is doing its members a disservice by not noting that most of the world’s online news organisations are based outside of the US.
“This is a recurring issue for the ONA. Last year’s conference was also US-dominated, so it is disappointing that so little has changed.”
It should follow the lead of the recent Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff which brought together ‘scholars from across the world’ he says.
Journalism will survive – but there’s no simple solution for how it gets there, or who is going to pay for it. That was the key message that underpinned the Future of Journalism conference at the Cardiff University School of Journalism, Media and Cultural studies last week.
Delegates from 42 countries gathered in the city to hear over 100 papers looking at the industry from a range of aspects:
New media technologies, blogs and UGC;
Sources; Ethics; Regulation; and Journalism practice;
Education, training and employment of journalists; History
Curran’s plenary focused on different views of the future: the survivalists, the new media romantics and those who believe there is a crisis of democracy afoot.
Being passive is not an option for the industry or academics, he argued. It is futile to try and predict the future: the focus should be on moulding and shaping the future where the two can work together to keep journalism alive.
Bettina Peters of the Global Forum for Media Development questioned whether it was appropriate to try and export business models from the developed world to the developing world. She discussed the need for collaboration between the northern and southern hemispheres. Journalism needs to be looking at mixed funding models, she said.
She too was concerned that journalists and educators needed to engage in a global discussion to share ideas and solutions and that the conversations shouldn’t just be about money or tools – two key strands of current industry discussion both on- and off-line.
Conference organiser Professor Bob Franklin, of the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, was keen to stress that this wasn’t an academic talking shop – but a key place where journalists and those studying journalism can get together to share research and ideas from around the globe, something crucial given the massive changes taking place in the industry.
His view was that the conference showed there is no single future for journalism. This was echoed in roundtable talks with journalism educators who were finding it difficult to determine what media organisations need, while journalists in the room stated that the media didn’t know what it wants.
Professor Franklin, like many others at the conference, believes the key to the future of journalism depends on the platform and location: while newspapers are in decline in Europe and America they are thriving in India, and there is a rise in daily tabloids in urban South Africa – with a thriving market in used copies of newspapers.
“The conference was about the future of journalism, and that future looks very different from where you are standing,” said Franklin. “We were talking about possibilities, not about sowing gems of wisdom. There is a future for journalism, but it is a very expansive future.”
Video: Professor Alfred Hermida on the Future of Journalism
It’s the second biennial conference hosted by the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and held by the journals Journalism Studies and Journalism Practice. Its introduction notes:
“In these fast-moving times, journalism faces huge challenges and opportunities, although these are shaped, given additional impetus and direction, or slowed down by the distinctive journalism cultures and markets which prevail in different regions of the world.”
As one of its participants, Professor Alfred Hermida (the second of his sessions is ‘Twittering the news: the emergence of ambient journalism’) noted on his blog, there is also:
A new paper by Alfred Hermida, who leads the integrated graduate journalism programme at the University of British Columbia: ‘The Blogging BBC: Journalism blogs at ‘the world’s most trusted news organisation'” – and he has put up a pre-publication version on his blog.
“In the paper, I outline how blogging went from being an activity by a handful of journalists to being adopted by some of the BBC’s biggest names, such as Business Editor Robert Peston, despite at times vehement opposition from within the corporation.”
Alfred Hermida reports that Orato.com has ‘turned its back’ on citizen journalism with a move to more professionalised content.
“Vancouver-based Orato.com used to describe itself as the ‘only news site in the world dedicated to First Person, citizen-authored journalism.'”
Now, however, changes have been made to ‘further professionalise the site, focus its newsworthy content, create and enforce a viable business model and keep pace with Web 2.0 standards,’ says Orato’s founder, Sam Yehia.
Alfred Hermida asks if there’s any point in labelling ‘new media’ as a separate category. “The problem with new media is that it a generational definition. New media is ‘new’ to my generation and beyond. The internet didn’t exist when I went to university 20 years ago. We barely had computers,” he writes.