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Our second chat session dealt with a topic which I feel quite comfortable talking about because I've read quite a bit about it and have attended numerous workshops and conference on it: Social Media.
The chat session focused primarily on using social media in a newspaper outlet and how it can be used to help with dwindling readership. This is a topic of great concern for many newspapers, especially in the developed world where the number of people buying newspapers has been falling every year. However, in the developing world, this is not the case. An example would be in India where there are still very healthy circulation numbers.
Sheba asked the class how a newspaper can use social media to help it. Well, in my case studied in a recently published book on Social Media (please see my previous blog posting), newspapers are using Twitter and Facebook to bring in more readers, especially to its website. This in turn can help with its online ad revenue, but there is no way (yet) to track how much money social media contributes to the media outlet's bottom line. What newspapers do is post a link to their news story on Twitter or Facebook to attract readers. Readers click on link and it takes them to the newspaper's website. This helps with the number of "hits" to the website. The more "followers" you have, the better for the paper as well. This is also one way to measure and evaluate the performance of journalists, who nowadays have to be engaged in social media and what Stephen Quinn dubbed as being "MOJO" or "Mobile Journalists."
Journalists today have to be able to use all media platforms. They must be able to write stories, film, take pictures, blog and report from the scene. This is what a MOJO is. Journalists today can file stories with their iPhones. A news story can appear online instantaneously on Twitter and Facebook. Because of the speed, sometimes there are errors and mistakes, but that's the price one must pay for speed. Many newspapers compete on who can break the story first, so many journalists nowadays are pressured into filing the story as soon as possible. As a result, the traditional fact checking is now something that can't be done as accurately as before.
Sheba also talked about participation. Today, with the Internet 2.0, news outlets encourage users to contribute stories. This is called "citizen journalism" and is used by many news outlets now, including CNN. Readers and viewers can send in pictures, video clips and tips. These stories, once they're verified, will be included in the news outlet's website or even broadcast on air.
Some newspapers exist only online, such as http://www.malaysiakini.com/ from Malaysia. Users have to pay to read articles on this website.
http://www.voicetv.co.th/ is another example from Thailand which is an online TV station and news website that is completely free and is owned by the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's family.
Final example is http://www.rappler.com/ from the Philippines. It is an exclusively online newspaper and news outlet with news broadcast on a daily basis as well. It has a "mood meter" to gauge how readers feel about a particular news story.
In brief, this week's chat session covered another very interesting topic. I hope that my examples help to expand and extend discussion on the topic of social media.