Live Blogging: ONA Brown Bag discussion 4/13/2011

(1:10) That is it for today’s brown bag. A HUGE thank you to Jen Reeves, Dave Matter, Gabe DeArmond, Joy Mayer, and Amy Simons for participating in our discussion – we had a great conversation and shared a lot of ideas. If you enjoyed the brown bag event this afternoon apply to be a Mizzou ONA leader next year and plan more events like this!

(1:05) Kraxberger: Twitter is one of many tools, not the only tool. Just because I use Twitter to start a conversation does not mean I am not using something else as well. It is not about if my use of social media is wrong, it is about what type of social media should I be using at this time.

DeArmond: There are no rules.

Mayer: We are in a business, we want to make money. One reason for getting engaged in social media is to use it for brand marketing and getting people engaged. Listening to people will help you make money. Our metrics for success need to be more than just our ability to drag people to a website.

(12:56) Simons: If an athlete breaks news on his Facebook page or Twitter do you use it?

DeArmond: Yes that is the only time I will use Facebook of Twitter as a source. I will try to call him and verify it, but if I can’t get a hold of him I will use it. If you are not paying attention to him you are not doing your job.

Matter: If me, Gabe, and Eric Blumberg are being held accountable for what we say on our Twitters, the athletes should be too.

(12:50) Reeves: I do believe that re-tweets can go further than the correct tweets. I don’t think we need to delete anything about Matt Painter. But if it is something that can incite violence or fear, we have the responsibility to fix that. 

Mayer: Here at school we get 16 weeks in the newsroom with you. Tweets are archived (Library of Congress), everything you do you own. You don’t get to have really controversial crazy opinions about your beat.

Question: I like Dave’s Twitter strategy. I like the links back to our work…

Lynda Kraxberger: If stations think they are in the business of delivering news broadcasts, they are going to die. Audience don’t want to wait for your program. The access to KOMU’s information may be old info by the time you get to your program. There are other ways to get your audience. I also think there is a very big difference in something that is highly scoopable. The universe has gotten a lot bigger because of blogs and Twitter.

Question: Do you think when you are breaking news on Twitter is it going to be less about who you worked for, and more about who you are?

Matter: For a young journalist that retweet can be very seductive. You need to be really vigilant. I don’t think anyone is going to get a job based on one scoop and one tweet.

Reeves: It is more likely for people to know you for you than ever before. Pretending that only when you are in the newsroom is when you are working on Twitter is not realistic.

(12:45) Question: What would be wrong with saying “my source is saying” on Twitter?

Matter: I don’t like doing my story in pieces, but for Jen she said that’s how KOMU does it. For me I like to be a little more thorough first. I don’t want five more sources to tell me the first guy is full of crap. It is important to know the difference between a really good source and a guy who knows a really good source. You always have to ask, why is this guy telling me this?

Reeves: I don’t do sports. To me, sports reporting seems way more competitive in a local news outlet. You have more national competition too.

Matter: It’s cutthroat at times. Especially here because most people covering the teams are Missouri graduates who have been trained well.

DeArmond: Only 10% of the people who tune into news at night tune in for the sports. But those 10% are the most passionate.

(12:40) Reeves: About the Matt Painter situation. Because we put our neck out 100% we were wrong. We are human, it happens. At that time we were reporting the best information we had at the moment.

Mayer: Correct isn’t black and white.

Reeves: But our readers expect black and white.

Simons: People can become “undead” at fires.

Mayer: Crowdsourcing is an important part about where journalism is going.

DeArmond: You will be wrong once in your life. Years ago I said Blaine Gabbert was 95% on committing to Mizzou. To this day people still ask me if I am 95% sure. You have to own it if you are wrong. There were 3 reports Matt Painter is coming to Mizzou. Two people came out right away and said they were wrong, the third made up a story saying he had committed. What is as important as tweeting what is right, is tweeting/reporting what is wrong.

Matter: In the old days when we put out a newspaper at the Tribune we had 24 hours to say I don’t know the answer. Now some readers expect us to know everything. Sometimes Mike Alden doesn’t know everything or Mike Painter doesn’t know everything. There is a grey area out there of “don’t know.” Sometimes it is brave to come out and say that.

Simons: There was a lot of good coming out of the basketball coach change. Here is an example of the good. (

Reeves: It was online instantly just like that.

(12:30) DeArmond: Twitter hasn’t created a line between us and them. For example, there was an internal email about Matt Painter coming to Mizzou from a source who had no way of knowing. The lines are blurred. You need to communicate your point for the most illiterate, unintelligent people in your audience. Over the last three weeks, due to isolated incidents, people have said “why do I pay for this website, I can’t trust the media.” It’s not the media, it is one person but it is all of the media’s to own. I think social media has completely blurred the line. Blogging – I am offended when people say “I read your blog.” I don’t have a blog, I am a journalist.  If a blog is by a journalist, it is journalism. Anything on the internet, calling it a blog is not fair. It is more about the person who does it than the actual platform.

Mayer: I think that’s another brown bag.

Matter: We have a lot of readers who suddenly have sources.

Simons: Sports specifically relies on a lot of sources. How do you use sources?

Matter: I don’t change my standards for blog, twitter, or news stories. It’s my byline so I shouldn’t change my standards. Why are people relying on anonymous sources? It’s a necessary evil.

(12:20) Reeves: We have the goal of web before on-air and tweet before anything else. That is why KOMU is not just sending people to our website. I think we have more purpose than the average newsroom to be tweeting during the day. If reporters are tweeting poorly they have their name on it and it is hurting their own street cred if they are tweeting bad.

Mayer: I have a community of people in Columbia I talk to all the time. The idea of broadcasting news on Twitter is pretty far down on the list of things I think Twitter does great. It’s about the conversations.

Reeves: I was not on campus when our campus decided there was a gunman on campus. Our KOMU account was getting 100 followers a minute. We knew there was a rumor – we should have said “we are aware there is a rumor.” Not doing this was poor literacy in our area, people took every tweet at face value. I wish more people who were new in social media would take the time to find reliable sources.

(12:15) Question: How do you personally use Twitter? How does Twitter fit into your life?

DeArmond: When I first started I thought it was the biggest waste of my time. My livelihood is based on subscriptions so I didn’t understand the point of it. Every new story I tweet it, and it infuriates the majority of followers I have because it links them to a subscription request. I put nothing on Twitter that peple pay me to put on PowerMizzou. I have never broken news on Twitter. It is simply a tool to get somebody interested in my business.

Matter: Ultimately I use Twitter to bring readers to the Tribune site. There is no incentive to have people read my Twitter, there is a really strong incentive to bring people back to my newspaper’s site. It is to take advantage of the short attention span of people. There are people out there who just read what I put on Twitter thinking that’s all I do, but really that’s just a small portion of what I do. Twitter is a mega phone to say “if you are not really paying attention to what we spend our time on, here is how to find it.” It is dangerous to put things on there without a link because you are just giving them a small part of the story. You work for someone else and you have a bigger purpose than 140 character statements.

Reeves: We have an education purpose at KOMU. Twitter is the best tool to teach yourself how to think all day. You can forget that working for a traditional news outlet. It is highly useful during breaking news, we can put those tweets together to put something on our website.

(12:08) DeArmond: Now suddenly no matter what field you are in if you don’t understand how to use the internet to your advantage, you are not going anywhere. I’ll steal a line from Gary Pinkel, anything you put out there is now a press release. Whatever you put on your Twitter account has your name on it.

Mayer: As journalists we have parallel goals on Twitter, one is to set ourselves apart from the other people on Twitter and the other extreme is to not put anything out there. If you are not utilizing Twitter, you do not exist. If you are not present you are irrelevant. So how do you stay present but also contribute more than just a “human mortal” would.

(12:00) Ready, set, go! ONA Mizzou is hosting a special brown bag discussion on the best Twitter practices for journalists RIGHT NOW in Tucker Forum. The speakers are Dave Matter from the Columbia Daily Tribune, Gabe DeArmond from, Joy Mayer, Jen Reeves, and Amy Simons. Twitter use during the search for Mizzou’s new basketball coach will be one of the main topics discussed so bring your questions, lunch, and friends down to Tucker and join in!


About onamizzou

Welcome to the official blog page for University of Missouri students working to bring the Online News Association to Mizzou.
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2 Responses to Live Blogging: ONA Brown Bag discussion 4/13/2011

  1. Pingback: Video: Using Twitter During Breaking News | ONA @ Mizzou

  2. Pingback: In the “Tweet” of the Moment | ONA @ Mizzou

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