And to think I almost stayed home.

It was Social Media Week in Chicago, the local slice of a global conference on all things social media. I had done the mental gymnastics to figure out which sessions I could attend considering my two anklebiters and Hubby’s long work days.

There were sessions I really wanted to go to such as Journalism in the Age of Tweet, How to Engage Audiences and Have Fun Doing It, and The Power of Social Media for Social Activism. But when it came down to it, Reinventing A Media Career on Alternative Platforms was the one must-see event for me.

After all, I’d just quit The Associated Press after 12 years and am launching my freelance career, which so far has been rewarding, but it is still in its infancy. Also, lest we forget I’m trying to become a bigger, better, faster, stronger blogger.

Knowing how important my career is to me, Hubby took off work early so he could look after the boys while I headed to the city.

After a train ride and taxi, I was standing in front of the Tribune Tower. I thought of the newspaper’s storied legacy, which dates back to 1847. Sighing, I went inside. A hallowed hallway and elevator ride later, I was there.

The panelists were Nancy Loo, Steve DahlRobert Feder and Richard Roeper. It was moderated by Bill Adee.

They were each fantastic in their own right, the dialogue was pithy, insightful and fun. Here’s a few of the headlines:

  • As journalists it’s up to each and every one of us to build our own brand. The days of the large media empire taking care of us are numbered, we are all independents, responsible for creating our own product. Build your own social media army.
  • With blogging you’re reaching people who want to be reached. In many newsrooms, we think that the public is hanging on to our every word, but that’s not how it is. With blogs though, people are genuinely interested in what is being said.
  • Have quality Twitter stream. Following good people on Twitter is like sitting in a room with all of the funniest and smartest people you know. It doesn’t really matter who you are, it’s the quality of your content.
  • Social media is about engaging the reader. News used to be monologue-delivered, now it’s more like a conversation.
  • Content is and always will be king. We still need journalists and our professional standards. The commitment to accuracy is necessary to be heard over the cacophony of “information” online. It’s about doing it in a way that really reaches people.
  • Writing a blog gives journalists an outlet that they don’t have otherwise. A blog is more likely to consist of work the individual enjoys, it’s a passion.
  • Find what you love, then find someone who will pay you for it. If you do whatever you love, you’ll be really good at it.

Journalism isn’t dead or even on life support. People do have a voracious appetite for information, we just have to tap into it. I’m excited to be a part of figuring that out and going to this inspiring session made me think I’m on the right path.



Social Media and the Future of Journalism — 4 Comments

  1. This is GREAT! I am currently going to school for journalism. I get asked quite often, “What are you going to do, no one reads the paper.” Well I think journalism has blown up not slimmed down. There are so many ways to get information now it is unbelievable. Would love to attend something like this! Thank you for sharing.

    • So glad you enjoyed it. I think there’s a lot of room for folks like you, you have a skill set that is so valued and since you’re used to writing and developing succinct information on paper, er, laptop, it’s easy to overlook this talent. You’d be surprised how many people out here in the “Real World” can’t share information effectively. Good luck and keep fighting the good fight. 🙂

    • Ha! Yes, there is a moo-ish tendency on these things, but I think for journalists you’re used to simply saying ‘I’m a reporter with… (The AP, the Chicago Tribune, ABCNews, etc.) and your identity is so tied up into that media empire. The idea of self-branding is a new way of thinking for many journalists that you have to make a concerted effort to do so. Also, you’ve been at this blogging thing for five years or so right? I can imagine that a lot of these kinds of things are like peat and repeat for you. Now if I could only download all of your knowledge, I’d be all set. 🙂

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