Twitter in journalism’s infrastructure

Tales of journalists using social media, and non-journalists committing acts of journalism using social tools, are starting to sound like stories of people using their telephones. Social media is becoming part of everyday communication for many people in general. Journalists rely on communication tools to get their job done. Does that mean that social networks like Twitter working their way into the infrastructure of today’s journalism?

I threw the question out – on Twitter of course – and here are some of the responses that I got back.


  1. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan Is Twitter becoming part of journalism’s infrastructure? @ckanal @robquig @donlemoncnn @jeffpulver @danielhonigman @davewiner
  2. Chip Oglesby
  3. Matthew Peters
    schoolofold @ksablan For some people yes, but I don’t think it’s quite as widespread as those of us that are deep in it think.
  4. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan It definitely is, though I think it’s coming to a point where papers focus on it too much and not enough on other tools.
  5. Daniel B. Honigman
    DanielHonigman @ksablan Not yet — it’s not paying the bills. Once Twitter traffic — and conversations — become monetized, then that’s a different story.
  6. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Not sure about Twitter specifically, but certainly SM & real-time Web are part of journalism now & there’s no going back IMO.

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  1. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan people will resist it the same as being web first. But will journo’s pick up on it before it loses it’s effectiveness?
  2. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @cophotog They are picking up on it. Are you predicting Twitter will eventually lose its effectiveness?
  3. Matthew Peters
    schoolofold @cophotog @ksablan Who knows but if people think its just some silly trend that doesn’t apply to them, it’s their loss.
  4. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan I think we’re starting to see the ‘tribalization’ of Twitter. People converse with smaller groups based on geography.
  5. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @schoolofold @ksablan and I agree about the trend, but they aren’t use to an audience that can talk to themselves. They want to feel needed.
  6. Kevin Sablan
  7. Chip Oglesby
  8. Chip Oglesby
    cophotog @ksablan I want to do a heatmap that shows a users replies over time based on the physical location of the person they’re replying to.
  9. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @cophotog That’s a great idea. It would be great to compare that to a person’s IRL conversations.

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Other tools

  1. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan It definitely is, though I think it’s coming to a point where papers focus on it too much and not enough on other tools.
  2. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @sona23 Good point. Focusing on the tool seems a little silly, really. When’s the last time we spoke this much about telephones?
  3. Sona Patel
    sona23 @ksablan Right. Building a strong online community requires attention to several areas: social media spaces, blogs, story comments, etc.

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  1. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Not sure about Twitter specifically, but certainly SM & real-time Web are part of journalism now & there’s no going back IMO.
  2. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Twitter’s value is clear now, to me & many others such as yourself. But many people don’t see it; that could impact it long-term.
  3. Kevin Sablan
    ksablan @ckanal Agreed. I figured I would phrase the question more narrowly for a start of the discussion. Thanks for the reply, Craig.
  4. Craig Kanalley
    ckanal @ksablan Absolutely. Interested to read others’ responses & see where the conversation goes.

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Photo courtesy of Nathan Gibbs via Flickr.

13 reflections on journalism in 2009

With so many SEO-aware blogging journalists out there — and some other linkbaiting-aware bloggers — you’re sure to run into many “top 10” lists for the year in journalism. I’m trying to compile them here. Please add your own links in the comments below. Here is a start:

Jon Slattery is posting a series of “Best Media of 2009” picks by industry professionals on his blog. Here is the list so far:

Executive tweets during search for murder suspect

Shortly after four police officers were killed in Washington, David Boardman (@dlboardman), the executive editor of The Seattle Times started using Twitter.

His account was created 27 days prior to the shooting, and he had tweeted once. After the police slayings, Broadman posted two messages telling people to visit the site. Then, he started really using Twitter.

He provided live updates throughout the day as police tried to find suspect Maurice Clemmons.

  1. David Boardman
    dlboardman UW Police say suspect may be in the U District. Someone reportedly saw him get off a Metro bus there. #washooting #lakeshoot #leschi
  2. David Boardman
    dlboardman Heavy police activity, including K9 units, in and around Dr. José Rizal Park in Beacon Hill. #washooting
  3. David Boardman
    dlboardman Police now say the suspect is not in Rizal Park on Beacon Hill.
  4. David Boardman
    dlboardman Police search seems to have hit a lull. Little scanner chatter or visible activity in Leschi, Beacon Hill. #washooting
  5. David Boardman
    dlboardman Latest police search focus: Maynard Avenue South and South Dearborn, in International District. Lots of cops. #washooting
  6. David Boardman
    dlboardman Employees at RDA Building, 800 S. Maynard, told to stay in the building. One says he can see a bloody gauze on sidewalk. #washooting
  7. David Boardman
    dlboardman Another empty lead? Alex Hong at Spic ‘n Span Cleaners on Maynard Ave. says 4 police cars there now, were 10 a few minutes ago. #washooting
  8. David Boardman
    dlboardman Cops looking for green 1997 Mazda Millenia, WA license 208SSX, registered to Clemmons’ wife. #washooting
  9. David Boardman
    dlboardman State Patrol calls off search for ’97 Mazda Millenia. Reports say car recently had been sold by Clemmons’ wife. #washooting
  10. David Boardman
    dlboardman Police say Clemmons getting help from family, friends to evade capture. Couldn’t do alone b/c he has abdominal wound, they say. #washooting
  11. David Boardman
    dlboardman SWAT team has arrested relative believed to be helping Clemmons. #washooting
  12. David Boardman
    dlboardman Police conducting “tactical operations” at 4 sites, including Renton house. Search warrants for all. #washooting

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Sources of top journalism linkers revealed

NYU professor Jay Rosen has a Twitter list of the “top 15-20 people most likely to give good link about journalism and its struggles.”

The Twitter Times creates a “real-time personalized newspaper” based on links shared by people you follow on Twitter, and the people your followers follow. Links are ranked by recency and popularity. Here is Rosen’s Twitter Times:

Jay Rosen's Twitter Times

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that the people on Rosen’s linkers list use Twitter to discover some journalism articles and blog posts. Not all of the people on the list subscribe to The Twitter Times, but here are the “personalized newspapers” of the six seven who do: