How journalists use social media: A statistical look

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Forty per cent of journalists said social media networks are ‘very important’ to their work and over a third said they spend between 30 and 60 minutes each day on social networking sites.

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Tap That App! 5 Must-have Apps for an aspiring PR Professional!

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In the fast-paced line of PR communications, success depends largely on us moving with the ever-changing technology. We bring you five apps that bring PR into your pocket! Check them out…

  1. News Runner – It is called the Twitter of the ‘news world’. NewsRunner is the world’s first audio newsreader, which has the latest headlines ready for you, whenever you need them. It claims to be “the best thing to happen to news, after news itself.”
    newsrunner
  2. Marketing 101 – This app helps you learn from marketing experts, the tips and tricks of this trade. With HD tutorials, articles by experts, hand-written articles by lawyers and options to download and print, this app will surely give your brand the boost that it needs.
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  3. Flipboard – Visually appealing, Flipboard is a news aggregator that gives you the feel of flipping through a magazine. It curates content based on your selected interests allowing you to browse handpicked articles. You can also build your own personal magazines, and can even add your social network feeds including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
    Flipboard
  4. The Facebook Pages Manager– Social media apps are an obvious necessity for PR professionals. The Facebook Pages Manager app helps you keep a constant connection with your audience, which is important for managing any crisis or opportune any moment. It also allows you to post new updates and photos, respond to comments and view or reply to private messages.
    fb page manager
  5. Pulse – In order to get hits, you need to know which issues are currently trending within your industry or target market.  The Pulse app puts all of your favourite blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers in one place, that too for free! This is great for tracking emerging news stories, and also for sharing them with your audience via the app’s Facebook and Twitter integration.
    pulseHope you liked this article, please share it if you did! Comment below and let us know what you thought of it.
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5 must-have software and apps for journalists

We list the indispensable software, tools and apps that a journalist must have on their computers.   [Read more…]

Why Arnab Goswami is still India’s No 1 newsman

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Arnab Goswami

The past few years the one topic or rather, the one man who has taken over the internet and hijacked dinner table conversations is undoubtedly, Arnab Goswami.

India’s most-popular anchor shares an intense love-hate relationship with Indian news viewers. Every night, sharp at 9, millions of viewers across the country tune into Times Now, to catch the latest debate on The Newshour, anchored by India’s most prolific news man.

High decibel levels, eye-watering graphics and a screaming match between guests and anchor has come now to characterize India’s most-watched debates. The past few months have been tough on the Editor-in-chief of Times Now. There has been much outrage among viewers over what they call ‘derogatory hashtags’ promoted by the channel on twitter.

It all started with India’s loss to Australia in the semi-finals of the Cricket Work Cup, 2015. The channel began promoting the hashtag, ‘#shamedatSydney’ to incite a debate on what they termed, India’s “shameful loss”. Ever the man to demand accountability in the name of the nation, this time, the move backfired. A cricket crazy nation stood for its heroes and very soon ‘#ShameonTimesNow’ began to trend.

But that’s the mood of the country now. Back in 2007, Times Now beat all news channels in the TRP race. Thanks to Arnab’s candid demeanour of hosting The Newshour.

Arnab began to promote ‘journalism of accountability’. Sentences like ‘The Nation wants to know’, ‘It’s an outrage’, made people sit and take note. As Arnab spoke, people gathered around their TV sets, nodding in agreement. They held on to every word he said.

It was as if Arnab was addressing them directly, in a voice that said “I’m one among you. I know how you feel. I will speak for you”. Never in their lives did they encounter a newsman grilling netas, demanding answers to questions that plagued the middle class. Arnab became the messiah of the middle class. He took politicians head-on and exposed their hypocrisy.

While other news channels adopted a more sober approach to visiting guests on their channel, they often missed out on asking tough questions. Arnab didn’t. He was blunt, did his homework well and wouldn’t let the interviewee get dodgy. There have been many instances in the past when Arnab publicly reprimanded the keepers of the law.

So, when Abhijit Mukherjee, MP and son of President Pranab Mukherjee called the rape protestors ‘painted and dented women’, it was left to an outraged Arnab to school him on behalf of the nation. The Abhijit Mukherjee ‘takedown’ has now become stuff of legends. It has spawned many a meme and even a mashup!

Critics however have taken an acrid view of the “Goswami style of interrogation”. They call his shows “loud”, “uncouth”, “less debate more shouting” and more. Some have even gone to the extent of christening the news anchor ‘meglomaniac’. What India loved and championed, now seems to be just a jarring note.

The outrage on display, appears manufactured, the hollowness of which is evident in live tweets. India’s once-favourite anchor now seems aggressive and extremely opinionated. Often his shows display a sense of lynch-mob mentality.

But that’s about the fall in quality of his show. The fact remains that Times Now is still the most-watched news channel on Indian television and Arnab’s still the man who commands a huge fan following. If anything, Arnab has become a pop culture icon today. He has inspired memes, remixes, mashups, songs and more.

Despite what critics say, he captures the imagination of India – a nation that loves its news and finds entertainment in his unique one-lines that have by now acquired cult status.

 

 

7 tips for budding mobile journalists

 

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Traditional journalism, long form writing and in-depth, is still the pinnacle of writing and reporting. But with the emergence of new media, news rooms across the world are experiencing a revolution like never before.

Today, one does not have to wait for the morning newspaper or switch on their TV to get their dose of news. Electronic devices like the iPad, laptop and even mobile phones have become important tools for news consumption.

Over the past few years, mobile journalism has emerged as the fastest means of communication for journalists.

And we are not talking about the ‘sting operation’ footage that the AAP has been flooding
the media with recently. Nor are we speaking of other grainy mobile phone material that most
Indian news channels pass off as ‘reports’.

We are talking mobile phone-wielding journalists reporting from the streets of Syria;
about the BBC’s reports from Stockton-on-Tees, the area of massive flooding.

Some argue that it’s simply an extension of what journalists have always done – use tools and technology at hand to do their job. Mobile journalism, also referred to as MoJo, is a single platform production – breaking news captured, edited and submitted on the go.

It might seem like a daunting task to move from print and online to MoJo. But once familiar, you’ll realise its cheap, fast, efficient and extremely accessible.

Here’s a list of basic tips to help you with mobile journalism and make the most of the camera you already have in your pocket.

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First things first: Before tapping record on your phone, ensure your device is on airplane mode. This stops calls and app notifications coming through and interfering with your reporting, particularly if you’re live streaming.

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Clean your lens: Mobile video expert and former BBC video journalist Mark Egan recently spoke at a MoJo conference in Dublin where he covered the basic checks you need to make while MoJo reporting.

Cleaning the camera lens is definitely a top priority. It’s not something smartphone users tend to do often, but even a small speck of dust on your lens can compromise the shot. And in journalism, like Egan pointed out, evidence – clear evidence – is paramount.

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Shoot the right angles: Mobile journalism can come under severe criticism if not executed well. There is always doubt cast on the footage and questions raised on the authenticity. A good mobile journalist knows how to shoot from the correct angles. Always film horizontally unless you’re using an app that makes it impossible to do so.

With the right software on your mobile phone, you can shoot, add lower thirds, create voiceovers, and incorporate nice transitions and more, on the go.

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Don’t forget the writing: Most mobile journalists think that their job ends with recording and editing footage. Wrong. There is still writing involved. Ideally, one should prepare pictorial or written descriptions of how they intend to cover the story.

Like a list of people to interview, or establishing shots to take. You can write those elements down in boxes and create a basic shell of a story. You can later go back to the field and fill in the blanks or do it in the studio.

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Take care of storage: Mobile journalists are in the habit of dumping footage on their laptops. But experienced journalists will tell you that storage is “really important”.

They recommends a cloud storage solution, to store audio and video while in the field without having to worry about going back home to them on a desktop, plus an external hard drive. Also, there is less chances of losing important footage. You don’t want to be the one who “lost the exclusive”.

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While shooting on the streets: It’s imperative that once in the zone of reporting, the reporter moves close to where the action is happening. This helps record the footage better.

“Film a variety of shots and different angles,” advised RTE news journalist Patricia O’Callaghan, at the MoJo conference. “You can never have enough close-ups,” she said. “And [you should] film in sequences, which really help you to tell the story. Use the special touches that apps allow, such as time lapses or other features that will make your report look really special.”

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Research well: Before going to cover a story, it’s advised that the reporter does thorough research, especially if you are reporting from an area of strife. Use apps like twitter, google maps and four square, to track events, familiarize yourself with the area and “check in”, so people now your whereabouts.

This saves your time from wandering around aimlessly and protects you from potential dangers on the streets.

BFA_Journalism+PR

Rolling Stone retracts sensational rape story: A colossal journalism meltdown

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The above picture is a replication of the one published on the Rolling Stone website, after the report was made public

‘A story that looks too good to be true probably is’, goes the old adage. And yet, many respected media houses print stories that turn out to be completely exaggerated and fabricated.

The latest controversy to hit journalism hard is the Rolling Stone blockbuster report, ‘A Rape on Campus’, which appears to be completely untrue.

In November 2014, the Rolling Stone printed the sensational article, ‘A Rape on Campus’. The story detailed an alleged rape that took place on the campus of University of Virginia.

On publication, the story created a huge buzz across the US. With campus rape a huge problem in America, the story seemed authentic.

But within a week of publication, claims the story made was put to test by reporting from Washington Post and other publications.

Major discrepancies were found in the report, peppered with key inconsistencies. Yes, too good to be true.

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University of Virginia

The repercussions of the story were felt far and wide. Student protest erupted, campus rape became a contested political property and there was major polarization of views.

The Charoletteville Police even suspended their investigation of the alleged gang rape, due to lack of evidence.

After months of criticism of the piece, the magazine agreed to submit its work to an independent review by the Columbia Journalism School in New York.

The report, made public on Sunday, is as sensational as the original article. It faulted the reporting, editing and fact-checking of the now discredited piece.

There are many counts on which the report failed.

  • First and most important, the account of the supposed victim—referred to as “Jackie” by the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Elderly—is not at all supported by independent facts.
  • Elderly never located the supposed ringleader of the gang rape, and his existence cannot be established.
  • The reporter never approached the three friends whom Jackie quoted as sounding coldly unsympathetic after she told them about the rape.
  • All three deny saying the things attributed to them.
  • Records show that Phi Kappa Psi held no social event of the kind Jackie described on the night she said she was raped.
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Students walk past the Phi Kappa Psi frat house

The piece is a historic failure in journalism. “[The reporting failures] involve basic, even routine journalistic practice – not special investigative effort,” the Columbia report said.

“And if these reporting pathways had been followed, Rolling Stone very likely would have avoided trouble.”

The report contains a litany of journalistic malfeasance on the part of the Rolling Stone writer and her editors.

So why would an institution like the Rolling Stone risk all for an unverified report? How could they make such rudimentary mistakes?

For those aspiring to enter journalism or are fledging reporters, this question begs to be answered.

As former New York Times editor Bill Keller pointed out in an interview with The Times, the pressure from the Internet to engage in “click bait” aggravated the problems with the story.

There is definitely truth to that. Even though Rolling Stone is a monthly magazine, it is part of an extremely competitive media landscape.

Today, print media is finding it tough to survive with ad revenues being siphoned to other mediums like TV and online. Websites are the only ray of hope.

Clicks amount to revenue. And editors want their stories to be true.

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The desire to have a story to be true is a powerful drug that can intoxicate even the most hard-core and deeply-ingrained journalistic instincts of senior editors at institutions like the New York TimesNewsweek, Rolling Stone.

Closer home, the reporting on the Arushi Talwar murder case showed how the Indian media too went thoroughly wrong on the big story.

The bottom-line remains – in pursuit of ‘click bait’, the story trumps journalistic principles.

It was a high-profile disaster. The story generated 2.7 million page-views, according to the report, which is more than “any other feature not about a celebrity”, in the magazine’s history.

The Columbia report shows that adhering to a relatively “old” set of journalistic standards, might have prevented the Rolling Stone from publishing the flawed story.

“If both the reporter and checker had understood that by policy they should routinely share specific, derogatory details with the subjects in their reporting,” the report states, “Rolling Stone might have veered in a different direction.

The recommendations of the Columbia report to the magazine are basic – Ban or severely restrict the use of pseudonyms; check all derogatory information; and seek responses to specific details, rather than asking for general comments.

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Sheila Coronel and Steve Coll from Columbia Journalism School addressing a press conference on the report

And these guidelines aren’t restricted to assault stories alone. They are simple rules all journalist should follow for every story.

But at no cost, the Columbia report makes clear, can one abandon the rules of journalism.

On Sunday, the Rolling Stone website retracted the story. In its place is the finding of the report and an apology from the editor, Will Dana.

He calls the report a “painful reading” and a “fascinating document”. An unfortunate statement, as it looks like modern journalism will have to bear the consequences of their mistake.

BFA_Journalism+PR

 

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