Is There Any Nutrition In Today’s News Diet?

“All profoundly original art looks ugly at first,” said Clement Greenberg, American essayist.

This quote most accurately represents how I felt when I first learned that I will have to use social media as a reporting tool.

Twitter was way too confusing and I despised it, Facebook was used to post pictures and videos of the little things I do while studying in the U.S. to keep up with my friends and family in Croatia and lastly, I saw Instagram as a craze for selfie’s with ridiculous amounts of unnecessary hashtags that make no sense. Early on in the journalism program I’ve learned that I’ll have to step up my game, learn more about the digital tools and techniques and get more involved in the social media phenomenon.

I worked hard to replace my negative and hostile attitude towards social media with positive thinking.

Yes, definition of the news has changed completely but I feel like journalists have become more powerful than ever. It is so much easier to disseminate information to the public and get your point across. It gave us an opportunity to tell a story through audio, text, video and photographs. The Internet has become the most valuable source of information for journalists and it can be done in just a few seconds for free. But most importantly, the reader is now involved in in the journalistic process. They can share their thoughts and opinions, concerns or give advice and inspire new ideas. With an exception of Reuters that doesn’t allow comments on the news stories.

 

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Twitter is probably the most useful journalistic tool and an essential source of news for some. I still get my news primarily from the New York Times, BBC and Al Jazeera. But I’m beginning to understand its value. What I don’t like about Twitter is that even though it is incredibly fast, the information I’m receiving is often incorrect.

 

It feels like some people have sacrificed accuracy over speed. A very good example of inaccurate information being disseminated via Twitter was in the case of Ferguson. The way journalism is done today is changed but the basic rules have stayed the same. Good reporting, research and analysis, providing context and verifying sources will still be my primary concern.

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courtesy of the Washington Post

On Twitter I follow news organizations like the New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC, and Reuters. They are an excellent source of news. Also, every day I check BBC Breaking News  and Reuters Breaking News  to find out about the major events that are happening right now. The latest post by BBC Breaking is “Girl, 4 killed in truck crash in Bath, UK named as Mitzi Rosanna Steady.” Those bits and pieces of information that I collect through Twitter give me an idea of what is trending. In this particular Tweet, I got an information about who, what and where in just under 140 characters. Now when they got my attention and I want to know more about it, I just click on the news story link to read the whole article.

Because of the strong interest in human rights and humanitarian policy, I like to be constantly updated with the timely events in that specific area and I follow organizations like EU Humanitarian Aid, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty InternationalHuman Rights First and UN Human Rights.

Additionally, individuals like Nicholas Kristof, Samantha Power, Valerie Amos and Kristalina Georgieva actively advocate for human rights (especially where health and refugees are concerned) and expose violations of those rights worldwide.

I love the advice that Kristof gave to us journalists through Twitter: “Read a lot. Write more. And beware of advice from has-been journalists who rose in a different era.” Samantha Power as an U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, is often concerned with ebola outbreak: “POTUS praises courage of #ebola survivor Kent Brantly & reads from Pastor Abedini’s letter from Iranian jail.”

I am trying to be like a learning sponge that absorbs useful information from many different places.

Facebook is definitely a great tool for engaging the audience to participate in conversations and share their views. I also used it once to find sources for the story I was writing about legalization of marijuana in the U.S. and it worked out just great. I found a student who’s grandmother was using marijuana for medical purposes and that really enhanced my story.

I started using TweetDeck a week ago and I love how organized everything looks. It is easier to track information on Twitter. The filter button is perfect for filtering out retweets or just see the most popular ones. Feedly helps me to organize my feeds by topic and I have folders for news, journalism, photography, human rights and politics. I also set up my Google Alerts based on search terms and I find it very useful.

I still need some time to understand the value of Instagram for journalism, but I do like Linkedln and its premium account. The most interesting tool on Linkedln is Advanced People Search that gives journalists an opportunity to find experts for their stories in any fields.

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courtesy of the Washington Post

There is nutrition in today’s healthy news diet – when you eliminate all the “empty calories” and distractions and learn about the “high quality meals” that work for just for you.

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