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Social Media Journalist: ‘USG is the most overrated social media ‘news’ craze’ Jack Lail, Knoxville News Sentinel

Journalism.co.uk talks to journalists across the globe about social media and how they see it changing their industry. This week, Jack Lail of Knoxville News Sentinel.

image of Jack Lail

1) Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Jack D. Lail. I’m the managing editor/multimedia for the Knoxville News Sentinel in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I am in charge of the editorial content on our family of websites that include knoxnews.com and govolsxtra.com.

2) Which web or mobile-based social media tools do you use on a daily basis and why?
AIM, Twitter and Facebook mainly. I dabble in lots of others. Email? Is that a social media tool? Live in it. Google Reader? Certainly use it every day.

3) Of the thousands of social media tools available could you single one out as having the most potential for news either as a publishing or newsgathering tool?
I continue to think the unsexy RSS feed has the largest potential and is the most important tool. Twitter and Facebook have potential.

Next is blogging, if you consider that a social media tool. It is critical for mainstream media to adopt and adapt. Because it is a web native publishing platform as well as a social network, it engages and creates community in very effective ways.

Not a software tool, but the iPhone is the biggest game changer in terms of new platform. I’m actually starting to believe the hype about the mobile web.

Users get that product and every other hardware maker is improving their smart phone offerings at a more rapid pace. Did we just go from Gopher to Netscape in the mobile space?

4) And the most overrated in your opinion?
YouTube and Facebook notwithstanding, user-generated content seems to be the most overrated social media ‘news’ craze or the most ineptly executed by traditional media organisations.

I think you’ll see a few sites that thrive at this and nail it and everybody else will suck. There seems to be a difference also in layering in news in social media sites and creating community around news.

Obviously, there are more social media sites being launched than can be supported by audiences or business models. Is it spring and time to prune?

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Multimedia collaborations provide Super Tuesday coverage online

Yesterday was just plain pancake day in the UK, but over the water it was Super Tuesday, as 24 of America’s 50 states voted on which candidates should be put forward for the country’s presidential election in November.

The coverage of the day’s events online saw some innovative multimedia and collaborative efforts from new and existing media outlets:

Mapping

Results + different time zones + different states = a great opportunity for breaking news displayed on mashed-up maps.

Google got in on the action with a map displaying live results and, with the help of Twitter and Twittervision, ‘tweets’ from across the US to give instant reactions from voters.

In another partnership with YouTube, as part of the site’s You Choose ’08 channel, Google is aggregating videos and clips from news organisations, candidates and users about Super Tuesday and plotting them on a Google map.

Elsewhere the BBC’s results map, which features as part of a broader election section, gives an easily navigable, state-by-state guide to the figures.

New collaboration

Publish2 launched a bookmarking system for newsrooms, bloggers and journalists, to create an aggregation service. Interested parties were asked to register for a free account and create a specific tag they would use – these tagged items can then be turned into a news feed by Publish2 to be repurposed on the tagger’s site.

Here’s an overview of the Networked Newsrooms idea or, to see it in action, visit the Knoxville News Sentinel or the New Jersey News Herald.

Video

Newsweek and The Washington Post teamed up for a five hour live webcast, encouraging viewers to react in a live webchat. Meanwhile The Huffington Post produced handheld footage from a Barack Obama rally in New York in the build-up to Tuesday and a live blog of the actual event.

MTV sent 23 of its ‘street team’ of citizen journalists to cover the polls and upload footage from video cameras and mobile phones. The clips are being distributed through MTV Mobile, Think.MTV.com and the Associated Press‘ online video network.

And finally – a slideshow…

…well, it’s much more than that really – De Volkskrant created an all-singing, all-dancing ‘slideshow’ with music, text, links, audio analysis and video giving an overview of the candidates, as well as a live results page for Tuesday’s results.

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