Brand Me a Journalist

Using Social Media to Create a Professional Niche

Posts Tagged ‘Mathew Ingram

Twitter as Your #Resumé

with 2 comments

I have a confession to make: I really like using Twitter. Most of my friends and family can’t imagine why I’d waste my time with it, but I have fun watching news break as it ripples through the dozens of news sites I follow (usually lead by @breakingnews– go figure!) I enjoy checking out trending topics during a pop-culture moment and following what other journalists find noteworthy. Although none of my friends have a problem with texting, most wouldn’t dream of sending a DM with a quick question or comment.

How journalists use Twitter was one of the most pervasive topics at the Carnegie-Knight Initiative’s conference, A Way Forward: Solving the Challenges of the News Frontier, held in New York earlier this month. Twitter factored into every breakout session and panel discussion. That was when I fully appreciated how essential it has become as a journalistic tool.

Mathew Ingram, a Canadian journalist I follow, recently sent a tweet about Twitter from the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Innovate News conference on Jan. 30:

Jim Brady says that he follows people who apply for jobs on Twitter, to see how they use it, and if they don’t use it “that’s a problem”

If Brady, the former executive editor of washingtonpost.com made such a statement, that’d be quite an endorsement. Now president of digital strategy for Allbritton Communications, he made the comment during a panel discussion at the journalism education conference in Toronto. Given that he’s currently developing a local online news site for Washington, D.C., and planning to build a staff of up to 50 people, this pro-Twitter comment caught the attention of Twittering journalists.

When I contacted him to verify whether he’d made the comment, Brady confirmed he had but said he wanted to clarify one part since the tweet didn’t allow for context. “That’s mostly right,” he said, “though I added something to the effect that it’s not a dealbreaker if you don’t use Twitter, but since this web site is going to use social media aggressively, it is a strike against you if you’re not using those tools now.”

He added he does look at Twitter feeds of people who have applied for jobs so he can see how they’re using Twitter. “It’s going to be part of their jobs,” he said, “so why not take a look?”

The most compelling part of Brady’s statement for me was how he thought Twitter should be used. “It’s important for journalists to use Twitter, and as more than just a place to post their stories. They should post other stories relevant to their beats, provide some color around stories they’re reporting and engage the reader,” said Brady.

This sentiment affirms what we are being taught at Cronkite about how journalists can use social media to build an online identity, connect with their communities and strengthen their personal brands. Well-crafted tweets can help define who you are and increase your exposure.

In addition to contacting Brady, I also reached out to Mathew Ingram to find out why he sent out the tweet. He emailed me the following response:

“I re-tweeted what he said not necessarily because I agreed with it, but simply because I thought it was an interesting comment from a guy who was in a position to hire people for a new-media venture, and therefore his take on it was newsworthy. He told me later that he saw a lot of the re-tweets and thought he probably was more emphatic than he really meant to be, and that he certainly wouldn’t exclude anyone because they didn’t tweet– but that he saw using social-media tools as a crucial part of a new-media job, and therefore would like to see people using them and experimenting. I would agree with that perspective.”

So whether you’re putting together your resumé for an online news job or planning to blog as a career, remember that your Twitter stream can play a supporting role in the brand you build for yourself. (Now try and say that in 140 characters or less.)

Written by Jennifer Gaie Hellum

March 2, 2010 at 2:21 am

One Degree of Separation Through Digital Media

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One of the fascinating elements of social media for me is the elimination of barriers between the Big Bosses and the Newbies. Twenty years ago when I started my career in advertising, my only access to senior management was in meetings or in the elevator. I never had the opportunity to develop a rapport much less a relationship with the poweful, connected people at the top.

These days, young new hires have the advantage of direct access to industry leaders via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. No longer are our opportunities limited to a good cover letter or the long shot of a cold call being returned.  We have the opportunity to “friend” management on Facebook, start conversations with them via Twitter and reach out via email and LinkedIn.

I found out first hand this week just how connected, and therefore small, the media community is. In late February I got a tweet from Mathew Ingram, a Toronto-based media blogger whom I follow on Twitter:

Jim Brady says that he follows people who apply for jobs on Twitter, to see how they use it, and if they don’t use it “that’s a problem”

I found that to be a powerful statement and saved it so I could blog about it later. But first I had to verify that Brady, the former washingtonpost.com editor, actually made the statement. I set out to contact him directly but couldn’t find an email account on his new company’s web site. My next thought was to send him a message on Twitter, knowing that with the number of people following him, my chance of a reply was slim. A direct message wasn’t possible because he doesn’t follow me, so I went for it and sent out a public tweet:

@jimbradysp Please DM me. Want to blog about how you follow job seekers on Twttr to see how they use it, “If they don’t, that’s a problem.”

Within a minute, a professor of mine sent me a direct message saying other professors at Cronkite know Jim Brady personally and that I should ask them for an introduction. Sure enough, one check on LinkedIn showed that three people I knew (including, surprisingly, my husband’s college roommate who works for AP) were two degrees of separation from him.

Brady’s LinkedIn page featured a personal website he set up to chronicle a cross-country roadtrip with his wife and two dogs. It included a gmail account. I assumed this wasn’t his primary email account but decided to send an message. I had seen in his Twitter feed that he had directed a tweet at my professor Dan Gillmor, so I mentioned that my blog was for Dan Gillmor’s class at ASU.

Within 24 hours, this unknown journalism grad student was exchanging messages with one of the most influential online editors in the country. It took all of an hour of exploring his social media accounts to make it happen.

More on what I found out in the next post…

Written by Jennifer Gaie Hellum

February 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm