New age tools for journalists

Social media is not far better than the old neighourhood tea shop as a news source for reporting purposes.

Twitter for
        journalistsWe have heard of stories of journos frequenting teashops in olden days, listening to the conversations and getting their tips.  These days, you rarely hear such conversations, but social media have replaced the tea shop as a place where such conversations take place. Some may be worth following up.

If one heard raw chatter and local news at tea shops, the social media area much more sophisticated. There you hear from a wider spectrum; from experts to the man on the streets. But what you heard on the tea shop could still be your exclusive for days to come. You would get time to work on that.

Obviously, that is not the case with the social media. What you hear is news already broken out to many. If you work quickly, you may be able to add value to information you get. You get time to work on a story, pursue a lead or idea, only if others have missed to notice it.

The odds could be even in both cases with some difference. The story you hear at the tea shop could very well be wrong. You have to check it out.  Same is the case with social media. A wrong story could gain emphasis or credibility with others relaying it on the social media. However, there is also the advantage that information can also come from those in the know, experts and others.

However, parallels do not end there. As a lot of time spent in the cafeteria looking for news could be waste of time, so could be following social media for news connected to your beat. Of course, social media like twitter is developing as a source of news. But the information then is no different from what is accessible with much more reliability from online news sites, newspapers or magazine.

Well, you go to the coffee shops for tea or coffee and may to relax a bit. So, the time spent is not a waste. Similarly, the social media is for you to connect to people. You can use it and get your tips as a bonus.

Needless to say those journalists who plan to source news and information from social media have to treat the information like what you get from other sources. The credibility of each and every piece of information will have to be checked and facts verified before publication.

Social media do not make your job simpler.  It is simply a new age tool in the armoury of journalists which needs new skills to use.  But for the new generation familiar with the social media from childhood, it is not an uphill task. For the others, twitter offers guidance at