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There’s no denying that the face of journalism is ever-changing, especially with the advent of social media in the past five years or so. What was once considered a trendy fad for college students has migrated into the professional realm, with journalists and public relations professionals at the forefront.

One of the main uses for websites such as Twitter is to create a dialouge or conversation between journalists and their audiences. Not only can readers  comment, blog and link to different articles that they find relevant, but moreover, can contribute a bit of themselves into the piece as a whole. This makes readers not only  feel more involved, but additionally allows them to participate in the field of journalism – without even realizing it! Here are some ways to get your readers involved in the online conversation:

  • Branding and promoting the site to attract readers
  • Solicit content
  • Moderate user content and dealing with reader problems
  • Know your legal and ethical boundaries

Love it or hate it, it looks like social media is here to stay. So you might as well embrace the change, and hang on for the ride.

Making audio journalism visible

Audio journalism is important and relevant for a variety of reasons, the primary one being that audio can lend itself better in situations where the subject may not want to be revealed on camera. It can help build a more textured and layered experience for audiences, and moreover, can add to the presence, emotions and atmosphere.

News organizations use audio in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Reporter overview
  • Podcasts
  • Audio slide shows
  • Breaking news

This chapter not only informs readers of how to get a good audio clip, but also points them in the direction of good recording technology and what it takes to stay current in today’s ever-expanding technological realm. Editing techniques are also discussed, giving readers the appropriate information to prepare, record and edit good quality sound bites to fit their needs.

Visual storytelling with photographs

The digital age has allowed photography to transform into a craft that used to be reserved for professional photographers only. Now that film is not the primary medium for capturing images, memory cards and advanced point-and-shoot cameras allow anyone to play the role of photographer. Some of the benefits of digital photography are:

  • Being able to take many more pictures, and viewing them as you work.
  • Uploading pictures to the internet and having the ability to share them with others.
  • Saving money from not having to purchase film.
  • Having the ability to crop and edit photos.

This chapter provides in-depth explanations of how to take a good photograph, and how to edit them appropriately. Likewise, issues of copyright and fair use are addressed. Taking excellent photographs isn’t as easy as it looks, but the best way to improve photography skills is to practice.

Going mobile

MoJo, or mobile journalism, is the latest trend to hit the media scene. Essentially, new smart phone capabilities  accessed via the Android or iPhone are suddenly replacing the traditional media kit used by journalists in years past. For instance, in the new media age there are two types of journalists — the gearheads and the light packers.

Gearheads are those individuals who are so enthralled with new media that they feel the need to carry it on their person, almost all of the time. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Laptops
  • Internet Connection
  • Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Tripod
  • Audio Recorder
  • Headphones
  • Microphone
  • Cell Phone

All a light packer needs is a smart phone, which is capable doing all of the above functions in a single piece of equipment – and in today’s age, functionality and cross-platform capabilities are key.

The only thing to keep in mind is that mobile journalism should be an accessory to a larger, more researched piece. This gives readers the capability to not only be updated on facts, but additionally allows commentary and further research after the event has occurred.

Microblogging: Write Small, Think  Big

Microblogging – or the transferrence of news via small snippets of information – is done primarily on the internet, with Twitter being one of the main microblogging hubs.

Not only is it a good way to share links to stories, share personal information and aid in image management, but in building this community of “followers”, the journalists are able to moniter what audiences are getting what information.

This chapter in particular talks about why microblogging is important, how to build a community of followers and how to effectively use Twitter as a whole.

Crowd-Powered Collaboration

Collaborative publishing is the recent trend of the public becoming actively involved in journalism, via the internet. However, many scholars and professionals in the field are  skeptical as to whether this is actually “journalism”. Either way,  the reality is that now journalists have the ability to work with the audience and create a better product. For better or for worse, collaborative publishing is here to stay.

  • Crowdsourcing – This  is a phenomenon where online communities hone in on and perform a task better than a  small group  of paid professionals.
  • Open-source reporting – This is the use of honest and transparent journalism, so that the online audience and the media outlet will maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Pro-am Journalism – This is the most direct form of collaborative journalism, allowing media consumers to post messages on the actual media site.