Social media panel addresses important trends

Writing an article is something that a journalist does all the time, but that is not where the story ends. In recent years, social media has changed the media world, and made reporting go past the pad and pen.

On Saturday, April 18 at Hofstra University, the Society of Professional Journalists Region 1 Conference held a panel to discuss not only how social media has effected change in the world of journalism, but how it will continue to do just that.

Speaking to an auditorium full of professionals along with students in the Student Center Theatre were social media savants from different areas of the business. Shawn Brown of News12, who graduated from Stony Brook University, works for News12.

Brittany VanBibber is the associate social media editor for AOL.com, recently coming out of the New York University Journalism program.

In the broadcast realm, Jenny Earl represented CBS News, as she is a social media producer for the company.

Now, as interesting as names and titles may or may not be, the key to the panel, mediated by Professor Carl Corry of Stony Brook University, formerly of Newsday.com and News12 Interactive, was that everyone had a different opinion.

Questions from the crowd ranged from a wide variety of topics, without necessarily one school of thought. How many posts should a person make in a day? How should somebody deal with the privacy issue associated with social media? All of those do have answers, but depending on the field, the answer may not always be the same, so that is my takeaway.

Brown’s focus was getting his material up on Facebook. Working for a television station. His reasoning behind that was to add more than just a written component. For breaking news, words have to out out as quickly as possible on Twitter, but that goes away, and fast.

The advantage of Facebook is that it can provide a text box and visual to support the overall telling of a story. While it may be interesting to hear that Alex Rodriguez hit that monstrous walk-off home run to win the New York Yankees the World Series in front of a boisterous crowd, people want to see that.

On the other hand, for groups like AOL.com, tweets are not always going to be that way. They are mostly going to be the soft news, or the niche stories that catch somebody’s eye as being different. In that manner, every word counts as when something does not drastically affect the world, the headline of the story is all there is to make a reader click a link.

One thing I was surprised by was how important leaving a link in or not is. Who would have known that could effect the viewership by that much?

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