Posted by: mobrienweiss | March 14, 2014

Storified: Obama, Galifinakis & health care

I have Storified the coverage of President Barack Obama’s appearance on comedian Zach Galifinakis’ Between Two Ferns. The president was promoting the Affordable Health Care Act to Galifinakis’ young audience.


Posted by: mobrienweiss | February 25, 2014

Simple perfection: Social media, simplified

social media

Image credit: The via Jim


From newspapers, magazines and television, to films and media corporations, women are not faring all that well, according to a new report from the advocacy group, the Women’s Media Center. “It is a road map that tells us where we are and where we need to go for women to achieve an equal voice and equal participation,” Julie Burton, Center president wrote in the introduction to “The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014.”

Read More…

Posted by: mobrienweiss | February 13, 2014

INFOGRAPHIC: Employers & social media policies (via Mashable)

Image credit: Payscale via Mashable.

Posted by: mobrienweiss | February 11, 2014

Great tips for college journalists

If you’re not already routinely visiting the College Media Matters site … you’d be advised to start. Soon. It’s chock-full of great advice, tips and news about collegiate journalism.

A couple of sterling examples:

I did not know that the wildly popular @SochiProblems Twitter account was started by a 20-year-old journalism student. But College Media Matters’ Dan Reimold did. This is the account that quickly amassed more followers than the official Sochi Olympics account. Reimold wrote:

“The mastermind of the most viral social media phenomenon surrounding the current Olympic Games is a 20-year-old journalism student at Toronto’s Centennial College named Alexander Broad.

… He is also the creator of @SochiProblems, a Twitter account that has massively impacted the media and cultural zeitgeist as the main prism through which many have viewed the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Featuring images of a city in disrepair, Olympic venues embarrassingly under construction until the last moment and hotel rooms lacking basic amenities … Broad’s tweets have spurred a ton of press and online chatter — and nabbed him more than 336,000 followers in less than a week.”

Plus, this … “1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists” Pure gold.

Posted by: mobrienweiss | February 5, 2014

Twitter coverage of death of Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman

Some questions for you journalist-types:

  • Did the media do a disservice to Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s family by tweeting out news of his death via drug overdose BEFORE his family was notified?
  • Should a reporter who reportedly received the information from an unnamed police officer have held back on the story until Hoffman’s family was informed, despite the fact that other news outlets were also chasing the story?
  • Did the 10+ million Google searches for information on Hoffman and the millions of tweets about him indicate that people were craving information therefore the journalists were simply providing what their audience wanted?
  • Did the grieving Twitter users — film critics, film buffs and others — who took to the social media platform to mourn the 46-year-old use Twitter to mourn and remember together, as an ad hoc community?

There are no easy answers to these questions which represent the multiplicity of complications which arise when the immediacy of social media, news gathering, professional competition and tragedy all converge.

Journalists have always wanted to get a story first, to own it, to claim it, to stake it out as their territory. That was a simpler task when it was just limited to getting your story published in the newspaper. Even as the influence of TV grew and the 24/7 pressure of cable television news — with its never-sated appetite for new information — bore down, news didn’t spread as fast or as widely or as deeply into the populace as it does now on social media.

Wall Street Journal tweet on Philip Seymour Hoffman's death

Writer Stacia L. Brown came down hard on the Wall Street Journal which was the first news organization to tweet out the Hoffman news. Writing in Salon, Brown said:

“Philip Seymour Hoffman died yesterday. This was the first and only thing we were told. Arguably, we were told too soon. The news can via a tweet from the Wall Street Journal, preceded by that all-too-familiar word, ‘Breaking.’ But aside from the text of the tweet itself, there was no additional reporting to verify the announcement. That would come approximately 17 minutes later. In the interim, the news went viral. Online publications were willing to believe the Wall Street Journal before it posted a news brief to corroborate its tweet, but prefaced its own write-ups and re-tweets with disclaimers like, ‘no confirmation yet, but …'”

She continued:

“Seventeen minutes isn’t a long time. But it’s long enough to ask questions about what it means to responsibly, ethically break news. It’s long enough to wonder if it’s worth risking the credibility of a historically reputable print brand just to be the first to tweet a celebrity’s death online. By the time the Wall Street Journal posted its first brief, the New York Times had also begun to report facts in the case. The most disturbing of these was the mention that an official had requested anonymity as he gave sensitive details to the press — including that Hoffman passed of an apparent overdose ‘because he was not certain the actor’s family had been informed of the death.’ … [W]ithin the space of 17 minutes, the Internet-accessing world may have known that Philip Seymour Hoffman had been found dead in his apartment before his three young children, with whom he was scheduled to spend the day, and his longtime partner, Mimi O’Donnell.” 

Read More…

While journalists and political pundits will take to Twitter in droves tomorrow during the annual State of the Union  address, the White House staff will be trying to persuade social media users to make the White House web page their second screen.

By promoting an enhanced State of the Union, White House staffers will go split screen with President Obama on one side and charts/graphs and other pro-White House messages on the other side. By attempting to control the message — and capture the hashtags #SOTU and #SOTU14 — administration officials likely want Twitter users to steer clear of snarky tweets that may pop up in Twitter streams.

The president even made a Vine to promote the whole enterprise.

There’s also been a week-long effort to build anticipation for the address via the White House’s Instagram account, offering “behind-the-scenes” images.

Will it work and help channel the discussion in a pro-Obama direction? I’m not sure because I, for one, don’t want to miss out on the political commentary from a variety of sources. However, I may triple-screen it, just to see what the White House is up to.

In the meantime, they’re also trying to tantalize fans of the West Wing — I consider myself among them — with a Josh Lyman/Will Bailey bit.

Posted by: mobrienweiss | January 22, 2014

Social media & journalism: A discussion

The market research firm, the Cicero Group, posed an interesting question in a recent study, entitled, “Is social media killing journalism?”.

The answer, according to its report, isn’t entirely clear, though it is certain that journalists are eagerly partaking of social media.

“Social media has had an almost immeasurable impact on the worlds of journalism and PR,” wrote the Cicero Group’s Mike Robb in a foreword for their analysis. “That much goes without saying. But it is often assumed that a journalist’s use of social media is a no-brainer — a positive tool that enhances their work by bringing them closer to their relationship.”

“That view,” Robb continued, “however, is far from universal. Many believe social media has in fact harmed journalism by making the profession far lazier, increasing the focus on quantity over quality, and prioritizing speed instead of accuracy.”

Robb interviewed two British journalists as part of a roundtable debate pondering this issue and concluded that, “Social media has enabled the ordinary person to voice their opinions in a way never before possible. It has vastly increased the power of the individual over the corporation, something that has been largely restricted to journalists in the past.”

He later asked the journalists, individually, their thoughts.

What say you, does the pressure to tweet out 140 characters or update a blog ASAP make journalists lazy and sloppy? (My vote would be, “No.”)

Posted by: mobrienweiss | January 21, 2014

Social media platforms, circa 2014



Interesting snapshot of where various social media platforms are today, courtesy of Leverage. However AllTwitter added this caveat to this infographic: “Twitter’s active users number is off – Twitter has more than half a billion registrations, but after half that many active users.” 

Image credit: Leverage via AllTwitter.

Posted by: mobrienweiss | January 16, 2014

Lessons from BuzzFeed’s Golden Globe tweeting


BuzzFeed’s rendition of the route Golden Globe award winners took to the stage.
— BuzzFeed via Poynter.

The folks at Poynter gave the BuzzFeed staff some big props for how they used social media during the Golden Globes, an event that saw a 39 percent increase in tweets during this year’s broadcast over last year’s with 2.4 million tweets.

“BuzzFeed wants to own the Twitter conversation when events of national interest take place,” Poynter’s Sam Kirkland wrote, “and Sunday’s airing of the Golden Globes gave the social news site another chance to hone its craft.”

Kirkland pointed out three things BuzzFeed did right the night that it took the length of an epic poem for award winners to get to the stage. (See BuzzFeed’s amusing rendering of their routes to the stage above.) Lessons Kirkland drew from BuzzFeed’s tweets:

  • “If you want to tweet fast, don’t wait for a link.
  • Collaborate
  • Use images and Vines (but maybe not GIFs anymore).”

“BuzzFeed had around a dozen people in the office for the Golden Globes,” Kirkland continued. “With an overwhelming amount of chatter about the Globes on Twitter, having a core group of editors and reporters in the same place allowed BuzzFeed to zero in on the best elements of the show and keep the tweets coming.”

Image credit: BuzzFeed via Poynter.

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