I went to the Washington, D.C. Social Media Club‘s fall kickoff meeting tonight, which featured a terrific panel on Mainstream Media Using Social Media Tools. The moderator, Jeff Mascott of Adfero, facilitated an excellent discussion with three journalists from traditional print publications:
- Catherine Andrews, Editorial Director, Washingtonian
- Cindy Boren, Deputy Sports Editor, Washington Post
- Rick Dunham, Washington Bureau Chief, The Houston Chronicle & Hearst Newspapers
I livestreamed the event through the digiphile channel at livestream.com. I couldn’t get the video from livestream to embed below correctly, so you’ll need to watch the session on demand at livestream.com. I wish I’d had a better mic and found a seat in the middle for a closer view. That said, the Social Media Club recorded a high quality version of the panel that will be available soon, so you won’t have to rely on my artifacted stream and low sound levels. Nota Bene: forward ahead to 6:30 or so, when the panel actually begins!
My insights for the night?
Challenges for the @Washingtonian include retaining a traditional editorial “voice” online and yet adding some irreverance and snark on social media platforms. Apparently, the editors want stories to be published in print first and then the Web second. That may be a tough balance to strike.
Social media “enables me to compete with NFL and ESPN,” said @Cindyboren of the @WashingtonPost. Twitter levels the playing field for her.
The toughest challenge for for @RickDunham? Time management, given the need to keep up with updating the Houston Chronicle’ digital outposts and the conversations . Community moderation is unending and necessary.
Rick also made a fascinating point about #journalism ethics and #socialmedia: keeping ideological balance with subscriptions to fan pages for politicians on Facebook is important in the digital age to maintain balance. Reporters need to follow everyone on their beat.
I asked a question about sourcing, as you’ll see if you watch the video. The panel provided good answers. Both @cindyboren and @rickdunham apply classic standards of #journalism to confirm the truth of statements, usually by calling people or “@’ing the source.” Pick up that phone!
Rick also made a fascinating observation: the Chronicle is realizing real adverstising revenue by livestreaming confirmation hearings and Congressional town halls to interested readers. Er, viewers. By carrying such news events on their websites, newspapers have become in effect independent Internet TV stations. Hello, convergence.
As an aside, I learned Helen Thomas is @frontrowhelen on Twitter. @IkePigott made her an account.
Great event. Many new faces, with others now becoming more familiar as I get to know the local DC new media community.