Emerging issues in contemporary journalism – A discussion co-hosted by the Online News Association and University of Kansas School of Journalism

The University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications will co-host a digital diversity summit with the Online News Association (ONA) on December 3, as part of the J534 Diversity in Media class.

The student-led summit will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST and will focus on emerging issues in contemporary journalism including: net neutrality, media consolidation, broadband access in rural America, the role of citizen journalism in the Arab Spring, and comic journalism.

The summit is open to interested members of the public to attend either in person or online.

The entire discussion will be livestreamed on the J-School homepage and liveblogged on Twitter under the hashtag #digdiv. Virtual attendees will be encouraged to tweet questions to the speakers and to actively participate in the discussion.

Telling Stories of Diversity in the Digital Age

Saturday, December 3, 11:00am to 4:30pm CST

Attend in person: University of Kansas, Stauffer-Flint Hall

Open to the public, no charge to attend.

Livestream: http://www.journalism.ku.edu/

Twitter: Follow and participate using hashtag  #digdiv.

Facebook: Join the event Page (includes links to resources from the 2010 Summit)

Schedule of presentations (all times in CST):

11:00 – 11:05: Welcome from Simran Sethi, Associate Professor, KU William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications (@simransethi, @KUJournalism)

11:05 – 12:20: Net Neutrality and Media Consolidation

  • Openness and Access: The Two Pillars of Internet Policy, Timothy Karr – Campaign Director, Free Press (@TimKarr, @freepress)
  • Media Policy for Social Change and Movement Building, Amalia Deloney – Media Policy Field Director, Center for Media Justice (@guatemalia, @mediajustice)
  • Putting Toll Roads on the Information Superhighway, Michelle Janaye Nealy – Freelance Reporter and videographer (@michellejanaye)

12:25 – 1:40: Bridging the Digital Divide

  • Digital Divide(s): A Look at the Data, Kathryn Zickuhr – Research Specialist, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (@kzickuhr, @pewinternet)
  • Myths about the Digital Divide, Jessamyn West – Community Technologist, MetaFilter.com (@jessamyn)
  • Crossing Digital and Social Divides in Los Angeles, Kathleen Patton-Kimmel – CEO and President, Crossing the Digital Divide (@cddnp)

1:45 – 3:00: Grassroots Media on the Global Stage

  • The Revolution Will Be Tweeted: The Effective Use of Social Media in The Arab Spring, Dima Khatib – Latin America Bureau Chief, Al Jazeera (@Dima_Khatib)
  • Graphic Voices: Comics Journalism and the Power of Non-fiction Visual Storytelling, Dan Archer – Comics/ Graphic Journalist (@archcomix)
  • Mobilizing Friends and Followers: Effective Grassroots Activism and the Role of Social Media, Lisa Dougan – Director of Field Outreach, Resolve (@lisadougan)

3:05 – 4:20: Accessibility and Opportunity

  • The Best Day of My Life So Far, Benita Cooper– Founder and Executive Director, The Best Day of My Life (So Far) (@bestdaysofar)
  • Seeing Anew: iPads and Cortical Visual Impairment, Dr. Muriel D. Saunders – Assistant Research Professor, University of Kansas Life Span Institute
  • App 911: The Use of Technology in Disaster Communications, Daniel Schaefer – Doctoral Candidate in Communications, Journalism and Mass Communication Technology Coordinator, University of Colorado-Boulder (@@schaefd

4:20-4:30: Closing remarks from Jeanne Brooks, Community Engagement Manager, Online News Association (@jmfbrooks, @ona)

Q & A with Ryan Osborn, Director of Social Media, NBC News

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will know that news media and the social web is a subject I am especially passionate about. Whether a local community newspaper or national news organization, embracing social media is a must. It should be integrated into news gathering and dissemination, advertising services, and all aspects of community engagement. It is vital to stay relevant to both readers and advertisers. To engage them in the medium where they themselves are engaged.  It is also vital to be at the very center of the community, whether that community is a physical community or online community. If we do not maintain relevance then by default we become irrelevant. If we allow ourselves to become irrelevant then ultimately we become obsolete.

It is also important to understand that it isn’t just about setting up a Twitter account or Facebook page and pumping out headline after headline. That might drive some traffic. But the opportunity is much greater. Opportunities to re-engage the community in new, exciting and very real ways. To report in a truly dynamic real-time fashion. To share rich multimedia content. Create and engage in conversations. Deepen relationships. Be experts for advertisers and help them effectively integrate social media with existing marketing strategies. Build very real online communities. Develop new revenue streams. The list goes on.

One news organization that is truly embracing the social web as a powerful platform to gather and share news and to reach an engaged new audience is NBC News.  I recently chatted with Ryan Osborn, their Director of Social Media, who took time out to share insights on the role social media plays in their organization.



What social networks is NBC News actively engaged in?

It is getting hard to define a social network as almost all digital outlets have social characteristics but to name a few NBC News is engaging users on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, MeetUp, Tunerfish, GetGlue, GoMiso and our team is always looking for what is next.

What are your goals of being present on the social web?

Our main goal is to tell the best stories with the most accurate information across all platforms. With the rise of citizen journalism, we need to be listening and responding to users. Social networks offer a great  scalable opportunity to have that conversation.
What do you see as the key opportunities for you as a news organization in using the social web?

The key opportunity is to reach our users in the most convenient way. As we report, promote and distribute content, we see that our users can help us with each part of that process.

Has the social web impacted the way you gather or disseminate news?

Yes. The social web never stops. We are always listening and also trying to figure out what is the best workflow for how we share our stories. Asking: What makes a good tweet? What makes a good blog post? How do we offer the best context around all of this reporting on TV?

Do you actively monitor the social web for potential breaking news? Have there been examples of stories you’ve broken as a result of monitoring the social web?

Yes. Our best example was when the US Airways flight landed in the Hudson River, we found a TwitPic and did a phoner with the witness on MSNBC.

Are there any examples you could share of how using social media has impacted reporting of a specific story?

I’m particularly interested in watching how social media will be used on Election Day. Watching people report from polls and surfacing that content continues to evolve. We are also focused on giving users the tools and resources to watch our coverage how they want. Working with msnbc.com, our video player is shareable on Facebook and for the first time the new Twitter. We are also working with some other developers who are doing interesting things.

Do you provide any type of social media training to news staff?

I have found the best kind of training happens one on one. Simply introducing people to tools and how they can be used to tell stories. Within a big organization, we can have different goals and we want to empower our employees.

Do you have a social media policy in place providing formal guidelines for conduct on the social web?

The President of NBC News Steve Capus has been very supportive and encouraging the division to use the tools but also understand how to use them correctly. Our standards and practices team has set guidelines. We are always working to communicate them. As some journalists have recently lost their jobs because of behavior online, it is an evolving conversation.

Any advice you would have for current students who may be considering a future in the news industry? Is the social web something they should be investing in as part of their future in the industry?

One thing that interests me is how social media has aided the rise of personal brands within organizations, particularly news organizations. If you are a current student, try to figure out what skills and ideas make you unique. Own your brand online and start building a community around your work. As you start applying for jobs this will offer you an advantage as you will come to your potential employer with a built-in audience. If your audience is big enough, you may not even need an employer.

Any other comments or anything else you’d like to share concerning NBC and the social web?

We are committed to learning. We are still at the beginning of this curve and I think being able to innovate in the future will rely on our ability to listen to our users. Always appreciate feedback so look forward to reading comments.


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