Growing up, my older sister has always been well-informed on the media world, and as I got into college, it really bugged me that she (a fashion major!) knew more about pop-culture and world news than I did as a journalism major. She had a knack for keeping up with the latest news and informing my family as soon as it happened.
I remember last summer, before I had a Twitter, waking up in the middle of the night and checking an online news story to find that one of my favorite actors, Cory Monteith, had passed away. I rushed to my phone to text my sister, because I finally had news that she couldn’t possibly have known yet. However, I turned my phone on to see that she had texted me the news two hours earlier. And I was so mad that I didn’t share it first.
I knew she’d read the news story on Twitter, and so I got a Twitter the next day and followed as many news sources and celebrities as I could so I’d never be behind on the news again, and since then, I’ve definitely been able to stay informed.
I bring up this random Twitter tale because I recently read a blog about the importance of Twitter for journalists by Brandi Broxson on the SPJ Blog. In her article, she discusses this article on the Colombia Journalism Review that basically debates the pros and cons of a tweet-savvy journalist. What stuck with me was that she (and the other article) only had four reasons why journalists should have Twitter. The reasons were if the journalist might want another job in the future, if they would like to keep up with pop-culture, if they want another way for readers to connect with them, or if they would like to connect with other journalists. I agree with these, but I think that Twitter is important for journalists beyond just those reasons.
Twitter has become more than just the place where celebrities rant and rave about their so-called problems. It is now the place where breaking new stories are told to the public first. I also think that as young journalists who are just starting out, Twitter is essential to getting a job and those without a Twitter account might be jeopardizing their chances for scoring one. In Broxson’s article, it says that it’s a great alternative to email for readers to connect with writers, but I think it’s a step farther than just that. By being a part of Twitter, journalists can keep up with trends, as well as put their work/names out there for more readers to see.
As Broxson says at the end of her blog post, I don’t think that Twitter should be a tough choice for journalists. I think that the future of journalism goes hand-in-hand with tweeting and social media.