Ahead of the curve: Winning with Social Media

The idea that journalism students have to be cajoled into consuming news still blows my mind.  Can you imagine a medical (or pre-med) student with no interest in medicine?  A political science major with no interest in politics?  A nursing major with no interest in nursing? If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is.  Crazy, and quite frankly, scary.

I have always viewed the news as a necessary element not only in maintaining some semblance of intelligence, but more importantly, in being a well-informed citizen.

In my opinion, every journalism student, no matter the platform, should be somewhat of a news junkie.  Someone who voraciously consumes the news.  No one’s life, much less an aspiring journalists life, should be complete without some BASIC news consumption.  Personally, I think I would be lost without the New York Times and CNN.

I was initially tempted to “phone in” this assignment, since I already follow a steady stream of journalists and news media across different social media.  It would’ve been easy to simply regurgitate my list, but that felt like cheating.  No, not cheating in any technical sense of the word, but rather cheating myself out of an educational opportunity.

So, with this in mind, I decided to start over.  Yes, start over.  To “toss out” everything I knew, to reconsider the choices I had already made and to approach this assignment with fresh eyes.

My new consumption or news diet is a reflection of my interests and background.   I was not surprised that many international sources, even taking into account specialty news, such as Guardian Tech or Forbes Tech, were international.  This of course, reflects my international background and outlook.

I “discovered” (much like Christopher Columbus) a few journalists doing interesting work, like Anthee Carassava of the Los Angeles Times.  Carassava is a Greek journalist who has literally reported from all over the globe, reporting on issues that have a nexus to Greece.  I aspire to a career like hers.

I also “discovered” Valerie Strauss, who follows education issues for the Washington Post.  Strauss also runs the Answer Sheet blog, which is a great collection of articles on school reform and education policy.

My news interests, which range from international news (The Economist, BBC Africa) to legal news (Legal Intelligencer) to political news (The Hill, Politico) are diverse.  So, I am not certain how following these interests will give me a leg up on the competition.

I imagine that I will be well-informed and capable of generating new ideas.  I also imagine that news editors and producers have voracious appetites for news and are well-informed.  Journalism, in part, is about telling stories in a timely fashion.  Staying on top of the news may be one way to meet this goal.

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