New Media Journalist, Brian Stelter, to Speak at U of Memphis

March 19th, 2012   •   no comments   


This year, the state of the news media annual report stated that 91 percent of users that get news from digital devices are using other platforms besides social media – the are using key word searches or going to or getting it through a news organizations application.

However, as smart phones, laptops and tablets are now the norm for news consumption – social media only built in a small percent of the audience growth, but print newspapers had a 5 percent drop.

This tells me that there is obviously a new kid on the block, and it’s been a long time coming.

So when I see a professional journalist who is an advocate for new media and  supports information being dispersed through a variety of online platforms – I see them as a hero.

Why? Because, I understand, as well as they do, that new media is not destroying journalism – it is saving it. The numbers for those who use social media for news consumption above may be small but they imply that the way the world is consuming information is changing, so the way the media delivers it has to change too.

Brian Stelter – new media journalist for the New York Times –  is one of the young professionals in the industry that is constantly producing content through digital media.

Stelter received his position immediately after graduating college when he was 22-years-old, all because of a blog he wrote about the television news industry and its transformation to web.

He was a subject in a recent documentary about the New York Times – Page One – other reporters in the film, such as David Carr, admit they were mildly intimidated by Stelter and his “built in” ability to use social media platforms to consume and disperse information.

In one part of the documentary Stelter expresses his concerns in a meeting about journalist not taking advantage of social media for news.

He says, ” I don’t know why anyone who is a reporter isn’t on twitter – I constantly berate my colleagues who aren’t on it. Drives me nuts when hear my colleagues talk about a story at noon, and I read it on twitter at midnight. I’m thinking to myself, why is that allowed? Why are we not on top of the news?”

Stelter has shared in interviews that he uses twitter to consume information for professional uses and for personal reading pleasure – he finds “living in this giant news stream” and getting stories through individual people is the best way to stay current.

He says most breaking news he finds on twitter and that he uses it as an ear to the ground, a listening tool because his readers can alert him news or updates by tweeting him.

As an active member of the Social Media Club of Memphis, and the President of the University of Memphis Social Media Club chapter, I support the majority of what Stelter stands for – and I cannot wait to see him speak this week.

In a recent article from Times Magazine it was reported that the average American spends about 12 hours a day consuming information – taking in more than 100,000 words that total 34 gigabytes of data.

As an entering professional in the journalism field, this tells me that there is a demand for all types of information and that I need to challenge what is the best way for a reporter to deliver the news.

Stelter has said he strives for healthy vibrant media when delivering news – and as a broadcast journalist I hope to do the same.

I believe that Social Media in journalism – especially broadcast news – will grow and that it has revitalized what could have been a dying trade for young and aspiring professionals.

My reasoning for this is that the news media annual report also stated that local television is growing audience, but not in traditional ways.

In addition, from personal experiences in working on a degree in broadcast news – along with my experience from interning in the field – I have seen in four years the transformation in journalism mostly by how my professor taught the class.

In my first reporting class we would sit around the table once a week reading and dissect a hard, print copy of USA TODAY. My last class that I took last semester, we learned how to deliver content with twitter and discussed niche journalism blogs.

Some aspects of traditional media, will not go away but they will most likely change. The beauty of digital media is that in incorporates journalism methods of the past and welcomes those of the future.

Join the Memphis Social Media Club as it joins together with the University of Memphis to hear the insights of New York Times journalist Brian Stelter – March 22, 2012 on the University of Memphis campus. Call 901.521.1453 for details.

Post Contributed by Ashli Blow, Howell Marketing Spring 2012 Intern

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