10 exceptional Journalists to follow

Currently, there are 500 million users tweeting their thoughts away with 140 characters. Can you imagine following every single one? Talk about overheating your brain. Instead of allowing us to be vulnerable to that much overloading, we have the power to selectively follow certain people whose thoughts are deemed important or relevant.

These are the people I think are important and great to follow because of who they are and what they do. I believe that every person has established an admirable reputation and it is inspirational. In no particular order, I follow:

Soledad O’Brien (@Soledad_OBrien) is considered one of the most hard hitting journalists of today. She strives to answer the questions that aren’t easy to answer or haven’t been answered.

Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) has slowly, but surely become a representative for females in sportscasting. Her tweets are informative about sporting events and personally delightful.

Hannah Storm (@HannahStormESPN) has built a great sportscasting reputation with Sportscenter. Her professionalism is a great example of how sports journalism could be.

Kathy Walsh (@WalshCBS4) is a local newscaster from Denver. Although she does not tweet often, her tweets are mainly newsworthy which is a useful and valuable skill to acquire.

Kami Carmann (@KamiCarmann) is another local sports newscaster from Denver. She has worked very hard to get where she is and it is an admirable trait.

Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) is a producer for NBCSports.com as well as a soccer journalist. His tweets contain newsworthy and soccer related information.

Katie Couric (@katiecouric) doesn’t need any introduction to who she is because she is an iconic news anchor. I follow her because I think she asks good questions and has the privilege to share amazing stories.

Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg) is a world renowned journalist for the New York Times. Although he writes the tech articles, his journalistic experience is great to follow. He is so well known, someone set up a fake Walt Mossberg twitter account/handle!

Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) is ABC’s Global Affairs anchor and known internationally. Her tweets consist of international news. Even though I am not interested in becoming an anchor, she has impressively become one of the top well known anchors in the world.

Khadija Patel (@khadijapatel) is a journalist with the Daily Maverick from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a live-tweeter, informing the world of human stories through brief 140 characters, but dense statements.

The Twittering Sensation

Twitter began its journey as a humble social media idea and turned into an overnight phenomenon with a total of 163 billion tweets sent thus far. Although users are limited in 140 characters to express their thoughts or news, the sensational buzz is due to the fact that news generates faster and wider. The underdog now has a voice and a way to reach out to the mass audience. Celebrities and experts are now more reachable.

While news travels faster than the speed of light via Twitter, there are several dangers of tweeting breaking news. Karen Fratti warns tweeters to keep a wary eye on inaccurate information. Retweeting has been used as a journalism strategy, but it is not always accurate. Even though tweeting is easier done than said, practicing safe social media can help make or break the credibility of a journalist. Fratti encourages tweeters to monitor tweets and their own tweets to maintain credibility and accuracy.

As journalists, twitter can help get the story out faster and effectively. Mashable shares four Twitter secrets: name dropping is an effective way to grab attention and generate a bigger buzz, determine whether your tweet is objective or emotional, name the category, and finally share the news source. Using these secrets will help create more retweets and can lead to more media attention on the topic.

Erin Andrews and Hannah Storm are both respectively well known sportscasters who have become more popular through Twitter. Andrews and Storm have strategically used Twitter as one of their main delivery of sports news. I followed both of their tweets in the last 24 hours and noticed that their tweets coincide with the advice given by Mashable.

As journalists, it is important to connect with your audience. Even though Andrews and Storm have over thousands of followers, they take the time to respond to fans’ tweets as much as they can. The relationship formed between the public and the figure creates a more likeable public image. For instance, Storm responded to a fan’s comment which helped make her more relate-able as a person. Andrews retweeted the link about a young girl’s battle against cancer. While she retweeted to show support, she also helped inform her followers about this story and generate more awareness. To do their jobs as sportscasters, Storm and Andrews tweet about upcoming sports events, which now happens to be the Super Bowl. Storm informed her followers about the efforts she and others are putting in to prepare for live sports center shows. Andrews promoted her Super Bowl excitement using hashtags and talking about the commercials she won’t be able to watch because she’ll be reporting. One of the most common traits I noticed between the two sportscasters is that they both posted pictures along with most of their tweets. As a visually appealed person, these pictures helped make me feel like I was part of their day. I am confident to say that other followers feel the same way. Name dropping is also a big strategy. It indicates that each person has a connection or the tweet is connected to a big name which attracts more attention. There isn’t much difference between the two women, however I did notice that Andrews tends to use Twitter as a personal and professional social media tool. Storm strictly sticks to distributing sports news.

Twitter is a powerful social media tool, especially with spreading the news. Along with the tips and tricks offered by Twitter experts, it is also important to maintain professionalism and credibility. As Steve Fox advises, “think before you tweet.”

Just how much branding are we talking?

The motions of creating a new persona and becoming your own person can be thrilling, but also intimidating. Being able to stand out from a crowd of already impressive people is now the challenge. A brand today is what was considered a foot in the door back in the golden days. Steve Buttry explains that while it is important to create a brand and become known in the community, it is also crucial to be a good journalist. He emphasizes that only a few journalists can succeed for long on a brand, but in the end it is really your own good work that speaks for itself. Anyone can write, but can anyone be a good journalist? Creating a brand shouldn’t be simply about promoting yourself, but accentuating your skills and making connections to experts in the field.

As per the encouragement of several experts in branding, I googled myself and discovered that I already have quite a bit of content floating out there in cyberspace. Most of the links relate to my involvement with the US Deaf Women’s National Soccer Team and some lead to my social media profiles. I can easily work on improving my brand by establishing one name and highlighting my passion which is learning about people, their stories and sharing it with the rest of the world via twitter, blogs, and more.

Inspired by Soledad O’Brien, I hope to achieve some kind of respect from peers and audiences in the journalistic field I end up in. O’Brien established her brand as a serious journalist using Twitter, an official Facebook page and several blogs on the CNN website. People know who she is because of what she brings to the table – good, solid journalism. I strive to be authentic and passionate. I want anyone who comes across my identity/brand to recognize that I am passionate about people, learning about their stories and sharing them with the world. We all have a story to tell, it is a matter of who will listen.

Back to the Future

We are all creatures of wonder. We often daydream about what the future holds for us. Some dream about becoming President of the United States, others hope to proudly represent New York’s finest police officers, some strive to mold the minds of America’s future. One way or another, we are all guilty of wondering what the future will be like for us and building expectations. For the news world, the question continues to be: will journalism as we know it survive?

Immediately, I thought of the Back to the Future trilogy with Marty McFly driving the DeLorean, speeding towards the future. There, cars and skateboards hovered, clothes automatically adjusted themselves to our body types, and everything was electronic. With how everything has unraveled since the Y2K panic, it does not seem so far fetched does it?

With the rise of technology, the days of delivery boys’ 4 AM wake up calls will become a thing of the past. Print newspapers have dwindled noticeably since the development of the ever integrating Web 2.0. There is hope for a more interactive type of news, where anyone could report news from anywhere. According to the predictions of David Hirschman and Laura Rich, local news will become automated. Professional Journalists will become too expensive to cover communal news and it’ll be up to locals to report. In result, communities will have a much stronger voice and the impact of one person’s story will be more powerful. The average person becomes empowered, reporting and sharing news will not need to come from solely the professionals. Journalism becomes more accessible to the average Jane and Joe.

The job description and expectations for journalists have quickly changed along with the technological boom. Instead of simply being skilled listeners and asking the right questions, journalists are expected to become a jack of all trades. No longer will a pen and notepad get the job done. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the keyboard just may be the ultimate weapon.The ability to set up video cameras, to edit video clips, and generate eye catching news stories are the essential tools to news reporting. The demand for skilled journalists have increased exponentially due to the fast changing delivery of news. Instead of using delivery boys, the internet delivers the news right to our personalized smartphones, tablets, and computers. Our news consumption will not only take place at the breakfast table, but anywhere we go. Whether sitting in the subway, working in the office, or on the bleachers cheering on your kid, news will follow us to the ends of the Earth, all thanks to our mobile phones.

The future is promising for those who are tech savvy. The future is bright for the little girl, dreaming to become the next Katie Couric. Just make sure you know how to do more than just turn on a computer. Become a jack of all trades and impress the world with your fiery passion for people and stories. Go forth and report, but also move with the current. While the values and purposes of journalism may remain traditional, the means of reporting changes as often as my mind does. Embrace the changes.

Empowering People: The Kony 2012 Experiment

While looking through multiplaform journalism projects, I recognized a common bond shared between these stories: people. Granted, any story involves people, their actions and impacts on all sorts of events. However, with these examples of multiplatform journalistic projects, the people of the story were in some kind of danger. The similarities and patterns of these stories coincide with investigative reporting, the kind of journalism that exposes any type of injustice or dangerous threat to the people. It is through these stories, readers are able to gain knowledge and empower themselves to take action against the threat. The Kony 2012 project rang a similar tone. Although criticized for its vague intentions, the Kony 2012 project reached out to millions of people and created a movement. Kony 2012 is a project sponsored by Invisible Children, an organization that strives to protect children located mostly in Africa who are victims of kidnapping and becoming child soldiers for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony is pinpointed as the man who is responsible for the terror bestowed upon these children and people. Invisible Children launched the Kony 2012 experiment to create awareness and support for the movement to fight against the tragic recruitment. Despite the massive distance between the USA and the African continent, Invisible Children has worked hard to bring this story to our attention. Now it is up to us on how we react and take action.

Through their website, we have access to information about Kony, the LRA, the cause of this movement. The tabs allow us to learn about the efforts, the stories of victims, and the call for anyone’s involvement. The articles, videos, and blogs compel for us to react and support. These stories are armed with information that can bring people together, fuel the passion and possibly create an end to the terrorism.

Click here to find out more about the Kony 2012 experiment. Although the experiment is over, the fight for protection, justice and peace continues. Invisible Children vows to keep pushing until a permanent end to the LRA is achieved.