Monthly Archives: May 2011

Beware of the Blogger

As little as five years ago if your organization received a call from a reporter, you‘d probably think of a newspaper or TV journalist — maybe someone from a radio station.

Today, who knows where that reporter may work?

So you heave a sigh of relief when it’s not the New York Times looking into some possibly shady deals involving your company. It’s someone from an innocuous blog site you’ve never heard of. Take the call, right?

It might be better if you were “out of office” for the next hour while you do some homework on your caller. Many of today’s biggest stories are being broken by bloggers.

They may or may not have journalism degrees. They may not even be very good writers. But many are aggressive and have a curiosity that makes them potentially dangerous. What they post may be reposted again and again, eventually making its way to the “major” media.

The moral of this post is beware of the blogger. Remember, what gets posted on the Internet lives there for a long time and can be viewed by virtually anyone, anywhere in the world.

Treat Jerry at BigNews.blogspot.com with the same careful consideration you would give to any reporter. Be prepared if you are going to give an interview. You’ll be glad you did.

-JD

Twitter: @jdaum

TV or Not TV

There‘s no longer any doubt that public relations and marketing are undergoing a fundamental change. I recently read that the number of homes with television sets has dropped for the first time in 20 years. That decline — from 98.9 to 96.7 percent of homes — is hardly cataclysmic, but it says a lot about our society in 2011.

Of course, the poor economy has played a role in this. But more important is the large number of young people who now get their entertainment and news from computers, tablets or mobile phones. Many – likely most – will someday buy a TV. But the days of virtual universal set ownership are going away.

Will things change as the economy continues to improve? Take a look at these statistics. The average viewer of TV network news is now 57. Newspaper readers are a little younger at about 55. Readers of magazines are relative spring chickens checking in at an average of just over 45 years old.

What does this all mean to communicators?

It means that if we want to reach the lower two-thirds of the coveted 18-49 demographic, we need to look past standard print and broadcast media. These outlets are becoming dinosaurs – at just about the same pace as the baby boomers that continue to watch and read them.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other Internet-based social, news and entertainment sites are the new the hot media. Does your company have great news to announce? Go ahead and run the standard news release past the city and assignment desks. But unless you’re selling diapers for adults, don’t overlook the new media.

While it may take a little more creativity to reach the non-TV group, the effort will be worth it. And it may even be fun.

-JD

Twitter: @jdaum

And Now, a More Efficient Way to Waste Time

While looking for social media content, I stumbled upon something that I think could give the popular time-waster, YouTube, a run for its money. It’s a new video site called Devour.com. Now, I like watching absolutely pointless videos just as much as the next person, so I decided to do a little perusing.

One thing that YouTube has going for it is the millions of videos to choose from. But as competition, Devour boasts of video quality as opposed to quantity, posting only the most entertaining ones so you don’t feel you totally wasted your time. But- it closes the door to those that want to post videos of grass growing or hopefuls that strive to be the next Internet sensation. This is what gives YouTube its glamour. Almost anything goes and it can potentially make you famous.

One thing noticeably missing from the Devour site is a comment section. Ah, the dreaded comment section. People can be brutal in this allotted space, which is one reason why I haven’t posted my rendition of a Cher song that I’ve been working on so tirelessly. Despite that, it’s a little disappointing because I like to read people’s reactions to posts and I think it shuts out users who want to engage online.

I would like to recommend YouTube if you have a lot of time to waste. If you are a no-nonsense and straight-to-the point kind of time waster, you may want to check out Devour.com. And in closing, I leave you with my favorite video I found. It’s about cats… with thumbs. You’re welcome.

Cats with Thumbs

Follow me @SaraAlisia

Where Does the Journalist Fall?

Two years after crossing the stage at Macky Auditorium to receive my B.S. in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the university regents voted 5-4 to shut down the School of Journalism and Mass Communications this June.

No longer will students be able to major in journalism, or any of the specific focuses previously offered, although they will be offered a “journalism plus” degree to accompany another major.

While I am very upset to see the program go and believe that there could have been a better way to restructure it, I think the closure is certainly an eye-opener for everyone working in media. In our age of tweets, texts and Facebook, where information can be easily accessed like no other time before, where does the journalist fall?

Twitter users know that a majority of the content found there is from news articles, written by journalists. While the argument can be made that direct, user-to-user interactions may be replacing the traditional role of a journalist, we still rely heavily on news sources for well-researched, detailed and factual reports that are longer than 140 characters.

What about bloggers, while many prominent bloggers are former journalists, what about the 8,000 unpaid bloggers at AOL? Are they all trained journalists? My guess is probably not. And they don’t really need to be, because that is not what they are being asked to do. Bloggers are held to a different and more lenient code of ethics than journalists.

I guess my point is that yes, journalism is changing, platforms and newsrooms are certainly different than they were 10 years ago. But does that mean the principles of journalism should change? I don’t think so.

I am sure there are many underlying reasons why the university decided to cut the school. Budget and faculty issues have been noted in reports, but the bottom line is that quality journalism helps gather facts to create solid opinions, helping foster lively and intelligent debates in the social space. Therefore, journalism is an important building block of social media.

What do you think, how has the role of a journalist changed in your eyes? Where do they fall today?

Graduation Day from the CU Journalism School

-MAE

On Twitter @Mereepp