Social Journalism: Correcting years of mistakes

I just read a blog by one of my tweeps @jenniferlaycock.  Jennifer is an online marketer and a professional blogger, so she is somewhat of a social media guru.  In her latest blog post Jennifer talks about how social media didn’t change business. 

Good business hasn’t been changed by social media, because good businesses were already connecting with people.  Social media is just one more tool businesses are using to reach people.  The difference between good business and bad business is what they use that connection for.  Good businesses know that reaching people is important so that they can establish a relationship of trust first, before they ever talk about their product.  Bad businesses try to connect with people using the message of their product as the reason for making the connection.  Good businesses leverage the power of their employees to make a difference in peoples’ lives, bad businesses tell people that the business will be the difference in peoples’ lives.

Since I’ve been in TV the only real relationship we seem to have with people is our product.  The problem is, the television media product, by nature, is tainted in 2008.  People believe we are biased or out of touch with their concerns.  This is the result of not finding a way to connect with these people first.  We are so busy filling hours of tv news that we don’t take the time to really listen to our community and hear what they have to say.  Telling someones story and listening to a community’s concerns are two different things.

Social journalism is one answer.  But we have to do it in order… social then journalism.  We have to find a way to connect with our potential customers first.  To talk to them, to listen to them.  We have to make that connection with our individual journalists, like @jason_wcmh has done.  People want to connect with people; people are hesitant to connect with NBC.  Jennifer Laycock agrees, “…people trust people, not corporations.”

So how do we stop this behemoth operation long enough to make those connections.  Well, we can’t.  At the end of the day we still have bills to pay.  But we have to focus each and every one of our minutes of the day on finding and taking advantage of opportunities for our people to connect with the people of Central Ohio, not just when they have the story, but every day.  We can change the way we do our journalism in the mean time by making it more of a conversation and less of an anchor moment. 

I would love to hear ideas you might have about how we can better connect with you.  I am passionate about connecting with our community and listening.  Please contact me in any way you can.  I’m @NBCSquire on twitter.



Filed under Social Journalism

4 responses to “Social Journalism: Correcting years of mistakes

  1. Ryan,

    Great response to my post. In fact, it’s been really great to see the positive response to it from all over. I think more people “get it” than I thought.

    As I see it, WCHM has a huge chance to jump ahead of their competitors, simply because of the early adoption of Twitter. There are a TON of you guys on there…you, Jason and Donna spring to mind first, but I know there are more.

    What you’re doing is building links with the community. Sure, it’s a very niche community right now, but because you got here first, you’re going to see some early adopter benefits.

    For instance, you guys can be gathering feedback from local folks about your coverage. (And your competitors) simply by scanning the conversation. You can bounce ideas off people by throwing them out there to the community. You have a news link in that those of us who know you can quickly Twitter you if something of interest is happening.

    I carry my iPhone everywhere I go. If I’m out in the city and see something newsworthy, I’m not going to remember a phone number for the TV stations, but you can bet I’d hop on Twitter and send one of you guys a DM.

    I think there are a lot of great ways you guys could be integrating Twitter with the news. News clips and links are great, but what about setting up a Columbus traffic report Twitter stream? What about Live-Twittering from some events like Red, White and Boom or Arts Fest?

    What about a Twitter-led “scavenger hunt” at the Ohio State Fair this year? There are fun things you could do to drive more followers to your Twitter feeds which then gives you the chance to reach more people with the news and to build those relationships that will help you shape your coverage.

    Always up for chatting about this if you’d like. You know how to find me.:)

  2. Oh, and another quick example of how the Twitter relationship drives viewers…

    I follow you guys. I see you Twittering. I now feel a “personal connection” to your team. When it’s time for me to turn on the news (like last night during the storms) where do you think I turn now? Especially knowing I have a direct line to give feedback?

    You guessed it.

  3. Ditto on Jennifer’s comments. Whenever I see the news on TV, I’ll immediately switch if it’s not on Channel 4. And Jason is GREAT! Go Blue!

  4. I totally agree with Jennifer and Alvin. Building a relationship with you and your team on Twitter makes NBC4 come to my mind before others. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you all better and collaborating on good stories.

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