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Briggs Ch. 10 March 8, 2011

Posted by acusumano in : Assignments , trackback

Early in this chapter, Briggs writes:

[M]any journalists (maybe most journalists) preferred news as a lecture. Only begrudgingly have they come around to the idea that a future in journalism means managing online communities and participating in various social networks.

It’s a pretty damning accusation but one that I’m unfortunately all too familiar with. When I first took a journalism class in high school, the teacher seemed downright ignorant of the shifting landscape–every single lesson was based on writing for newspapers. That was a mere six years ago, and admittedly things have changed rapidly since then but that resistance to change pretty much goes against everything journalism is about.

The idea of shifting into a conversation especially shouldn’t be too disconcerting–after all, newspapers have published and encouraged reader letters for decades. Of course, there was more discretion in that than automatically publishing what Doug Feaver calls,

anonymous, unmoderated, often appallingly inaccurate, sometimes profane, frequently off point and occasionally racist reader comments

The conversation moves beyond just comment sections–Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media can help readers share their thoughts, and as an added bonus, are often attached to their real identities. However, journalists cannot just sit back and wait for readers to pour in. There are several steps to creative effective conversation:

Once again, social networks are an effective way to complete all of these elements.

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