Journo student: Thoughts and exploits

Is Twitter the saviour of online journalism?
April 5, 2009, 10:52 am
Filed under: journalism, journalism student | Tags: , , ,

A few weeks ago I blogged about my lack of understanding of the concept of Twitter. Since then I have become a fully fledged member of the tweeting revolution and am embarrassed to say that I now check Twitter with the same avidity in which I used to check Facebook. However, the thing is, I do feel like I’m taking a whole lot more from it than I’m actually giving.

 I’m ashamed to say that my use of Twitter is purely for selfish, journalistic reasons and that I get so much more from those I am following than any of my followers are getting from me. I have, in all honesty, only contributed four tweets to the global Twitter explosion, all of which have been either totally inconsequential or shamelessly self-promoting.

 On the plus side, I’m definitely starting to see the benefits of Twitter from a journalistic point of view. Twitter now makes it much easier to stay in the media loop, instead of having to trawl through various websites to get news, you just have to use one. So basically, it’s the antidote to being a lazy journalist- it does all the work for you. I follow Media Guardian, Press Gazette,, and various other fountains of insider knowledge.


Twitter icon for Fluid

Twitter icon for Fluid

The thing about Twitter is that it is so simple. A couple of weeks ago at City university we had a roundtable discussion in practices in online journalism. This featured heavyweight online aficionados such as Pete Clifton, head of editorial development for BBC multimedia and Jemima Kiss, Guardian reporter and blogger extraordinaire.

 They all saw Twitter as a potentially excellent journalistic tool. Jemima, who is an avid tweeter herself, made the point that it is the way that people use Twitter that makes it great, not the actual site:

 “We shouldn’t obsess about Twitter as a stand alone concept- it is the power behind how it is being used. The skill with twitter is learning how to use it and how to filter it. It is a tool of communication.”

 Workshops are now actually being established to help journalists get the best out of Twitter. Matthew Ingram, communities editor at the Toronto-based globe and Mail newspaper recently ran a workshop for his colleagues and blogged about his efforts:

 Of course, there are dangers with Twitter, as you would expect with anything that is seemingly so easy to use. You need to know how to determine what is rubbish and what is actually worth something. Learning how to filter the information is surely the key to using Twitter successfully.