Connecting With Digitally Empowered News Audiences

My forthcoming book, Engaged Journalism: Connecting With Digitally Empowered News Audiences (Columbia University Press, February 2015) examines the changing relationship between journalists and the audiences they serve.

I’m eager to hear your reactions to the book. For Tuesday’s class, please read Chapter 2: News As Conversation (the PDF is on Blackboard under “assignments”). By 11:59 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, post a reaction of 100 to 200 words as a comment on this post addressing the following question: How (if at all) did the chapter change the way you think about the role the audience plays in the journalistic process? In your response, cite specific examples from your own reading of the chapter, as well as your own observations and experience. It’s not acceptable to piggy-back on your classmates’ answers without reading the chapter yourself.

This assignment is worth 10 class participation points.

31 thoughts on “Connecting With Digitally Empowered News Audiences

    1. My digital journalism career began as a music blogger for a veteren for a college music blog that has so far garnered over 50k Facebook followers and 9k on Twitter. I trembled as I drafted my first post, excited yet scared to reveal to our enormous online following my taste in music and my personal thoughts surrounding that. As soon as I hit “post,” I waited. And then I waited some more. For what? A response. Well, there was none of the sort on the site. So I tweeted my link. Still no response. So I posted it on our Facebook page, and it received minimal views. What the heck? Why did I spend all that time writing and worrying just for it to disappear into our archives? I didn’t really care if thousands of people read it, I wanted to know if anyone liked it. It was a good song, one that I had on repeat the whole I was drafting it. Didn’t anyone feel the same?

      I decided to downsize from an international blog with an ambiguous audience to a local news site with a focused, tangible audience. It’s the kind of site that posts consistently, with articles that speak directly to its audience and invites feedback, both via Disqus, Twitter, and their Facebook page. Finally, I started to see the responses come in. This not only reassured me that people had thoughtfully read through my piece, but that they had something to say. This helped draw me into the community of Dallas, a place I am still a newcomer to.

      “We need to join where the conversation is,” was a quote from Steve Buttry that stuck with me throughout the rest of the reading (46). This embodies my feelings about my two experiences with digital journalism. Journalism is about sharing what’s relevant, but like you wouldn’t do a job without compensation, you shouldn’t post an article without getting feedback. I want to focus even more now on what I can ignite in my audience after writing a piece and where that will take me.

    2. When thinking of “engagement” for journalism or any professional field, I automatically think of Facebook. Much like what Andy Carvin discusses on pg. 7, I associate “engagement” with “Likes” on Facebook and “Follows” on Twitter, but it’s so much more than that. Sure, “Like” our page, but also talk to us and let us know what you’re thinking. “Follow” me, of course, but give me some feedback on what I’m putting out there.

      Reiterating your chapter, it’s so important to make sure you’re putting out content that your readers feel connected to.

      Many of the people that you quoted, mentioned a feeling of satisfaction when a reader would comment, or contribute to an ongoing story. I was able to experience that satisfaction firsthand this weekend. While covering my story of the Dallas Heart Walk on Saturday, I tweeted a series of tweets, containing mentions and hashtags. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with the response I was receiving. Although very small in size and impact, it was a journalistic validation, if you will, that I hope to experience again soon.

      This is how I see it now: all the effort that goes into a composing a great story, 10x more effort should be dedicated to keep that story ongoing, by engaging the readers.

      Like Meredith Artley mentions, it’s not our job to end the story. It’s the reader’s job.

    3. When I started working at the Daily Campus I was the manager of the classified section- which is a fancy way of saying I copied and pasted adds into an in-design document and occasionally processed peoples payments. I did that for two semesters until I finally made it onto the DC’s writing staff. I was tossed into the fire, having never written in AP style before and my first couple of stories were pretty bad. The editors didn’t want to put me on anything major right off like football, so they gave me women’s soccer. After a couple stories I worked my way up to men’s soccer and eventually had the ‘soccer beat’ for the DC. The ultimately let me cover just about anything I wanted, but the large amount of soccer stories landed me an internship with FC Dallas the following semester.

      It was in Frisco that I first experienced working with a ‘new’ organization that understood the importance of their social media presence.

      Working for the DC I had live tweeted from football and soccer games. However, after covering the first half of a FC Dallas game, I knew I had been doing it wrong.

      I don’t know if there are any fans in the world like soccer fans. Say what you will about the MLS, but the people I interacted with while at FCD were some of the most passionate sports fans I have ever met.

      Whenever I wrote something worth sharing on social media- yea that’s right, ‘worth sharing’ because they didn’t pump out links to every single article that went online- they would include my twitter handle. After the first couple of stories, I was talking to readers on twitter about what I wrote.

      I remember thinking to myself when that internship was over that I wanted to bring FCD’s social media strategies over to the DC.

      That was almost two years ago. And I have yet to do it.

      FCD got readers to engage with them. At the DC, I rarely hear anything from our readers.

      If there is anything I have learned while studying journalism at SMU, its that the audience cannot be overlooked and taken for granted. I wonder sometimes, if we at the DC are guilty of this?

    4. When I first downloaded Twitter, I did it because it was a new form of social media and many of my friends had started using it. Not truly understanding its full potential Twitter became a place for me to post inside jokes or song lyrics, or tell my “followers” that I had just fallen up the stairs of Dallas Hall. What never dawned on me was that I was creating a closed circuit conversation. In the reading, Batsell and Gilgoff talked about building a conversation by letting the audience create the discussion and allowing it to continue. I was never creating an open circuit via my Twitter account by allowing my followers to engage in conversation with me or each other through my posts. How could I create an open forum of discussion or think people were interested in reading an inside joke they know nothing about?

      “Journalists can create community by actively involving the audience in the stories they cover.” As a journalist I need to be actively involving every single person that scrolls across a tweet from my account. I need to view every follower as intellectual and looking to expand their knowledge and share their insight. We can gain more knowledge or even develop a new story idea from listening to one another and learning of different peoples insight and opinions.

      Another quote that resonated with me from the chapter was from Gilgoff when he said, “What the Internet allows you to do is see that people are still talking about it.” When you click on one story, the internet allows you to click through and expand your knowledge or discover something new. The story you read does not stop with one click, and we can see what people are still talking about regarding and/or related to that story. If there is a subject matter that is driving the people and your audience, we as journalist must pay attention to that and join the conversation. If it is important to your readers, it should become important to you.

    5. Last semester I interned for a bridal company and one of my responsibilities was to keep up with a bi-weekly blog for the company. While working there I definitely began to notice a trend in which blog posts became popular and I found that, in fact, it had very little to do with me.

      The thing that made a post popular was whether or not the bride and or groom mentioned in the article shared the post on social media.

      If a couple did decide to share the blog with their friends and family, our followers and blog views increased. I was reminded of this when in Chapter 2 it said,

      “The episode showed how journalists can create community by actively involving the audience in the stories they cover.”

      I soon learned to email the bride and groom with a link to the post and they would more then likely share it. While this interaction with the audience was important for a startup wedding company, I’m not sure this same tactic for general world news is the best method of creating a relationship.

      While it is good that this new age of journalism allows the audience to have a role in the news world, I can not help but see a trend in the way stories are now reported. It seems to me that while in the past, journalists were playing (to use a football analogy) offense, now they are playing defense. Instead of only having to focus on what news should be reported, journalists now have to take into account readership. Who is the audience of this story? Will the audience like this? This change in thinking has shifted the power from the journalists to the audience. It is now the readers and viewers who determine what stories are covered. The question has shifted from Does the world need to know this? To Will the world care?

  1. Likes, retweets, and Google+ shares— that was my perception of digital journalistic engagement. And on that level, social media engagement was an afterthought I addressed after covering a story.

    My a-ha! moment came in this chapter, when Batsell urged journalists to “ask questions that respect the readers’ intelligence” (45). Sure, citizen journalists can just as easily discuss an issue on Facebook or Twitter as a journalist can. What can be different is the depth of our engagement.

    This advice and the example of Dan Gilgoff’s Aurora coverage prove that digital engagement can belong on the front-end of news coverage, not the back-end where I previously perceived it.

    We should aggregate readers’ thoughts and opinions and then use those to leap into a deeper conversation with expert sources. Time have, indeed, changed since Tom Gordman ignored readers’ comments years ago at the Log Angeles Times. In this new day of journalism, the reader comes first.

    The first time I tweeted and engaged with the reader before writing a story was actually this week. I was on the scene of a police-involved crash, and I shared the news and photo on Twitter. It’s a long way from the examples in the book of covering presidential elections or shootings; but I was surprised at the number of people who used my tweet to share the news with their followers.

    Now, having read this chapter, I would consider using that tweet and my interaction with readers to engage on a deeper level, ask meaningful questions and get a discussion going online about police-involved accidents.

  2. Having worked for Scout.com the past two years, getting your audience to engage with our stories has always been a high priority, and yes getting “clicks” is important, but I really liked when Gilgoff said, “It had a lot of integ- rity and substance. It wasn’t advancing the conversation in an attempt to ride the wave. We were harnessing what our readers were saying to teach them something, too. . . . It’s not as cynically done as, ‘Can we get 250,000 more clicks on this?’ That’s the effect, but it’s not the cause.” When you can actively engage your readers, and provoke them to write their opinions, that’s what’s going to keep the conversation authentic and thought-provoking for a longer period of time.

    I also strongly agreed with what was said at the bottom of page 49, where it states with Facebook and twitter now, journalists are needed more than ever to authenticate and fact-check what’s being said. Where part of my job is to be active on twitter, I know not all that is said on their is true, so as a journalist, it’s my job to fact-check and provide even more detail on what is being tossed around. Just a couple of weeks ago there was an incident with a recruit where it was discovered a fake twitter account was being used and we, as a staff, had to figure that out on our own because no one really knew.

    As for changing the way I think about the audience and its role in the journalistic process, I don’t think the way I see it has changed since reading this chapter. What is has done really is just confirm what i’ve thought for some time now.

  3. I found this chapter to be very insightful as it gave me a different perspective on digital journalism, focusing on the importance of the audience’s role. The chapter stressed how vital it is for a journalist to consider his or her audience and inform and communicate with them, as audience plays a very active role in digital journalism today. The example of Gilgoff’s discussion about the Aurora on the Belief Blog attracting attention and promoting conversation and debate was very interesting. I really enjoyed Gilgoff’s perspective when he explained, “Our whole mission is meeting the audience. For the moment they are caring about that, we want to meet them. We can shed light on what everybody’s thinking about today. I think that’s the primary goal of journalism.” By directly involving the audience into the conversation, Gilgoff attracted thousands of readers to participate in the conversation. This example also stressed why it is important to create opportunities of interaction with the audience rather than just stating facts and quotes for them to read. A good tool I learned in this chapter for actively engaging readers is to ask questions as this spark readers’ interest by provoking their thoughts and opinions. Also, I think it’s important to note that interactive journalism doesn’t just benefit the reader. It benefits everyone, including journalists, by helping us all to understand the world better. I found a quote by Digital First’s Steve Buttry about selecting what to discuss to be significant. He said, “You need to decide what to do less of, what to stop doing, what to do to a lower standard—which is a tough thing for a journalist to do. But if you’re just doing more, you’re going to do something to a lower standard, so you should decide which one it’s going to be.” I personally found this to be a very valuable piece of advice as I have the tendency to do more instead of focusing on producing less at a higher standard. Overall, I really enjoyed reading about the different techniques that can be used to promote interactive journalism and found the examples used in this chapter to be very helpful as I gained insight and advice on how to directly engage the public and communicate with the audience.

  4. I thought this chapter was very interesting, and it gave me a knew perspective on social media in journalism. I’ve always seen social media as a way for journalists to share their stories or as a way for people to share news that thy found. I never really thought about it as a way for journalists and civilians to communicate for stories. I liked the example of the God in Aurora story. I liked that Gilgoff used a simple tweet to spark a conversation which lead to a news story. The story allowed readers to be in the stories and share their opinions. This breaks down the barrier between journalists and civilians, and in this example, that lack of a barrier is a positive thing. I also like how social media allows reporters to see how many people are reading and how long the story is being shared. Before social media, reporters did not have a way to see exactly how popular a story was becoming. I also really liked the point about gaining clicks on a story. I like that the emphasis when writing a story is not to write something that will draw attention. The goal is to write an important, interesting, and accurate story, and that will ultimately draw attention. I liked how this chapter really focused on involving readers with news and showing how that could be a positive change for journalism. I feel like a lot of journalists see this as very negative, and I liked this outlook. Overall, I really enjoyed reading the chapter and learning about the power of social media.

  5. I’ve never had a blog, or been an avid Twitter user, so the idea of audience engagement, while I know it could have benefits, is somewhat unknown to me: how to use it, cultivate it, and how to write for your audience (and their engagement). This chapter really opened my eyes to everything that audience engagement can be. The CNN Beliefs Blog question really peaked my interest: Where was God in Aurora? Because this isn’t a story that Dan Gilgoff wrote. It is a collection of thousands of reader’s insights to the event in Colorado, sparked by this simple question. And I bet this was one of the most interesting things for readers to read about the coverage, and something they could put their own thoughts in as well. When David Beard said, “Without engagement, we’re not relevant,” that also stuck with me. Because I think it’s true, although I hadn’t really thought of it like that before. Without readers to spark up conversation, share the articles, and put in their own opinions, the stories would just float in the oblivion of the web. The engagement is what makes the stories and news organizations important. Always keep engaging. That was one of the final points that I think is so important. No matter what time of the night, if you are on a computer or have time to check up and engage with your own readers, do it. No matter the interaction, whether you are responding to negative comments or insightful ones, responding to your readers and constantly interacting makes them feel important, and will keep them coming to your site because they know you genuinely care about their opinions, which is critical for any news writer or organization.

  6. Reading this chapter drastically changed the way I thought about audiences’ role in journalism. It made me realize that everyone can have a voice because audiences can give their opinion in such a way that they have become thermometers of what journalists ought to be investigating. If we are to empower the people, what better way to do so than to hear what they have to say about things of importance?

    What was most interesting to me in the chapter about the audiences’ influence on journalistic content was how it has put a check on the goals of journalism. Gilgoff’s quote ‘Can we get 250,000 more clicks on this?’ That’s the effect, but it’s not the cause,” really struck me. This illustrates how digital journalism has called upon the two-way sharing of information that is what journalism should be. It has also undermined the selfish, self- promotional content many corporations publish.

    The New Haven Independent publication also helped me understand how audiences have shaped journalism. Their non-linear web story was something revolutionary and so well-liked by audiences that it shut down their website. Proving that journalism is now produced in a way that content is tailored to what audiences want. Thus, demonstrating that the audience is now much more powerful in journalism than ever before.

  7. After reading this chapter, I have come to realize that there is certainly an evolving interaction between reporters, journalists and individuals. The journalistic process is no longer a one-way conversation—we, as journalists, are now encouraged and expected to participate in a two-way discussion with our readers and followers.

    With the evolution of journalism in today’s age, an engaged journalist is expected to, “not only inform but to bring readers directly into the conversation through digitally powered techniques such as real-time coverage, alternative story forms, crowdsourcing, beat blogging, user-generated content, and comment forums” (43). Engaged journalists, according to CNN Religion Editor Dan Gilgoff, are expected to actively seek their audience, and to connect their audience with the experts, in order to move the discussion forward and expand the realm of conversation about that topic.

    For news sources, encouraging readers to “like” you on Facebook or “follow” you on Twitter is no longer enough to have a fully engaged audience. As journalists, we are now expected to be fully interactive with our audience through other outlets, such as online comments. Although user comments can often turn into a “free for all,” it is important to maintain this two-way conversation through various outlets such as beat blogs (like the DMN Insider Blogs), emailed newsletters (such as The Skimm) and other forms of social media.

    Ultimately, we, as journalists, should learn to place audience engagement at the forefront of the journalistic process. We have a duty to both inform readers and interact with them at the same time. Simply put, David Beard, editor for digital content of The Washington Post, says, “without engagement, we’re not relevant.”

  8. After reading this chapter I realized how much news organizations rely on their audience. They rely on them in some cases to lead the conversation, like in the “Where Was God in Aurora” post by CNN. Other times they rely on the audience’s views to tell them what is working and what people are interested in. They look to engaged users when creating content that they think these users will remain loyal to based on their past engagement.

    It is interesting how different news organizations publish their content in different formats, aiming to engage readers with different strategies. Prior to reading this chapter I thought most of their goals were to get a lot of ‘likes’, so it’s interesting to read that many actually do want to start a dialogue because that is what will keep the reader coming back for more.

    I am always hesitant to comment on articles because as was stated in the article, many of them are aggressive and create controversial arguments among other commenters, but this chapter makes me re-think this. As long as I use proper internet etiquette and have something clear, concise and meaningful to say, I should share my voice.

  9. Chapter 2 of Jake Batsell’s new book didn’t change the way I view the audience’s role in today’s journalism as much as it informed me about all the new ways media is attempting to engage the audience. I’ve always been a firm believer that the reader, and that reader interaction is important. That being said, the techniques in which one goes about creating audience engagement is where creativity and innovation really shine on the part of news organizations.

    My favorite approach was that of the one taken by Yahoo! News on the eve of election night coverage. It is an absolutely brilliant concept to create a “control room” and then invite the reader in to view his options and make his choices as to what he’ll “air” on his own personal coverage of the evening, thereby becoming his own producer of the news.
    I can only imagine how much collaboration this took among the various entities of Yahoo! News across the world and what an exciting experiment this was. My frustration lies in the fact that I knew nothing about it. I found myself asking if all these cool things are happening out there in the business of “reader engagement” and I consider myself an interested and active journalism participant, how come I missed the entire event. Either I’m not engaged enough or Yahoo didn’t engage me.

    The gauntlet has been thrown, the challenge been set: How do I become more engaged with what is going on in digital media? That is the entire point of the power tweets and a good part of our class. It is also a fair question for Yahoo! News and how they broaden their reach with these impressive experiments so that they do capture readers like me in addition to those that are more “plugged in.”

  10. This chapter really emphasized to me the impact that readers have on news organizations. Not only are news outlets aiming to sell papers, but they want to add that additional edge to their content that can come from interacting with their audience. An example that really stuck out to me was the economic story featured on page 60 that highlighted Allison Linn’s use of social media. To “humanize” a bland economy story she went straight to the source of those affected by engaging the audience. Her story essentially wrote itself with all the responses it received.
    On the same note, I appreciated what Omar Gallaga said on page 72 about his personal Twitter account not being 100% work-centered. “I don’t sound like a robot, I don’t sound like a reporter. I sound like a real person… I never wanted to be this faceless reporter behind the byline.” I think social media is a great way to emphasize that the people behind the news are also part of the community, just like their readers. These types of interactions make news outlets more personable and relatable. This chapter has encouraged me to step up my interactions as both a reader and a journalist.

  11. Following some of our recent class discussions and after reading the assigned chapter, I’ve come to realize just how important of a role the audience plays in journalism in this day and age. One of the examples in the reading that provided testament to this fact was the “Where was God in Aurora?” example. From a simply posed question came about thousands of responses that told news organizations something about the audience and what they were interested in. That is the power of engaged journalism. By increasing reporter interaction with members of the community, we can gain a better sense of what people actually want to read about and participate in.

    Recently however, it seems as if news organizations are trying to shift the power of news dissemination almost entirely into the hands of their readers. I believe that the power of the individual journalist continues to be the driving force that actually gets the news out there for people to consume, yet the journalist mustn’t forget to take advantage of the resources available to reach out to those people. Twitter, as a prime example, is often used by reporters to find sources, pose questions for their followers to answer, and gather information about a particular topic or news story. I witnessed first hand in a newsroom this summer how critical of a role social media sites play when reporters need to quickly gather sources and information.

    Ultimately, this chapter made me much more aware of the power of audience participation in the news process, yet it’s also important to note that journalists shouldn’t let that power entirely override their role in the process.

  12. Throughout my collegiate career as a journalist, I have had a wide variety of responses to the age-old question, “what is your major?” While some people change the the conversation very quickly, others tell me that it is a difficult time for the journalism world while simultaneously giving me a sympathetic look. Contrary to belief, I feel bad for these types of people who have no faith in the direction that journalism taking. Reading this chapter has emphasized that journalism is evolving in a new and improved way. One of the innovative strategies that I find very interesting is the connection journalists have created with their audience. This technique is giving reporters a chance to throw away templates and actually write as a part of their community. Engaged journalism can bring a community together around an issue and help form a relationship between the readers and the writer. Jay Caspian Kang argues that the constantly evolving interaction of journalism “is a tremendously messy process, at times thrilling and deeply useful, and at times damaging in ways that can’t be anticipated.” Even though we do not exactly know where journalism is going, the two-way conversation between writers and their audience is proving to be a big step in the journalism world, and we should embrace it immediately.

  13. It is becoming apparent very fast in this class how important feedback from your audience is. Right at the beginning of the chapter, you opened with the Aurora tragedy. I followed the news coverage at the time and was always eager for more information. CNN’s Belief Blog had trouble covering this because of their religious viewpoint and made a wise choice in posting a question of Twitter and then deciding what direction to go after hearing back from their audience. Sometimes all it takes is hearing new viewpoints for a story to write itself. Getting many voices for a story is very important and people enjoy hearing what their peers have to say. It is important to write for yourself, but it is also important to write for your audience. Hearing what your audience thinks can help you cater your writing toward them, while still remaining unique to your own style.

  14. In my opinion, the American public is increasingly viewing news consumption as a commodity. A commodity, in an economic sense, is something that is ‘of like grade and quality,’ where the only factors affecting one’s decision to buy a commodity are price and how easy it is to obtain. In other words, people see information as being the same regardless of its source, so they get news that’s free and easy to get their hands on. The net result of that phenomena is that news organizations have to work harder than ever to appeal to their readers and give them a reason to think that their news is more than a commodity. Page 58 puts that idea into context by describing the main function of journalists as being to “scramble and gather facts, confirm them, and, if need be, debunk unfounded rumors.” If journalists do just that, then news stops appearing as though it’s a commodity and credibility wins. Let’s say, for example, a reader sees a compelling Twitter post that turns out to be false. If he fact-checks that news with a more reliable source, then everyone wins – the reader gets the correct information and the reputable news outlet gets more viewers. But what if the reader never fact-checks what he read on Twitter? He might see that same false information going viral on Facebook, which would make him think that his unreliable Twitter is reputable and he would go right back to that source for his news content. What’s the point of journalistic integrity if the reader bypasses the reputable because of social media?

    Engaged journalism is something that should be cautiously embraced. Yes, we have to respond to our readers’ interests and produce content they want to read, but we can’t fall into black-holes like Upworthy and Buzzfeed that draw in clicks for all the wrong reasons. Engaging journalism with up-to-the-second news is great… when it’s reliable. Otherwise, the entire nature of engaged journalism becomes a machine for spreading false information. A couple comments on false story can turn into a controversy and can spread like a wildfire across all forms of social media. Now more than ever, journalists must find a way to make readers value credibility again.

  15. The role of the audience in journalism, now more than ever, is growing. The audience does not simply read the news anymore, but helps shape the way the news is written. Additionally, I think the level of engagement we see from an audience now is a preface to a much larger and louder voice the audience will have.
    Page 48 quotes Paul Bass, editor of the New Haven Independent, with his definition of an “Engaged User:” The big thing is reading and talking and doing something about it. The number of people who do what Bass is describing will exponentially increase as long as a dialogue between reporters and an audience exists, social media continues to be relevant, and the current generation enthralled with social media grows older.
    Page 49 mentions: “Without engagement, we’re not relevant.” I don’t necessarily believe that statement is true. I think relevancy oftentimes spurs engagement. For example, on the site Buzzfeed I often click on listicles that seem funny, but I am more likely to click on listicles relevant to my life.
    If a source is relevant to the reader, it will help “build a safeplace for when shit hits the fan.” The feel good stories Evonne Benedict refers to on page 64 are the primetimes to engage an audience and make a story relevant.
    Dave Levinthal said to treat readers like a member of your extended family. I can see that in doing that, one could uncover leads they may never have come across otherwise. I occasionally see that trait among journalists I have engaged, but as the role of an audience becomes more important on what is decided as news, every journalist will have to think that way.
    The future of journalism will be dictated entirely by what an audience decides is important. In the past, news organizations decided what the day’s news was, but with today’s free flow of information the input of the audience has become invaluable.

  16. After reading this chapter, I realized how short sighted my ideas about digital journalism were. Before I came into this class, my experience with digital journalism was minimal at best, and I honestly thought all we would learn how to do would be write articles specifically designed for the web. However, it’s really a lot more complex than that. I love the idea that journalists can simply be facilitators in public discussion, like in the case of the Aurora story. Instead of simply regurgitation facts, journalists can instead focus on creating a platform that allows reader to express and discuss their opinions. I believe this comes from the changing digital landscape. Instead of hearing from a few people in a “Letters to the Editor” column of a paper or magazine, everyone has the ability to immediately respond to an article or tweet. I think this makes journalists more responsible, as they have instant feedback. Hopefully, this trend continues, because eI believe it will only lead to a stronger journalistic ethic and a public more inclined to read all kinds of stories.

  17. Until recently, audience engagement hadn’t fazed me too much. Whenever I would see comments on blog posts, news articles, etc… I assumed the people commenting were fanatics about the topic who just had to have their voices heard. I didn’t really think that anyone paid too much attention to what those comments said, and more so thought that the majority of readers visited online news sites to simply read articles. I now realize how wrong I have been.
    With the multiple platforms available this day and age for citizen journalism, every single voice is heard. Whether it is a comment on a blog post, or a reply to a tweet, audience engagement is at an all time high. I believe that this has led to a different role for journalists, as was exemplified in the chapter. A perfect example of this is on page 58, where breaking news is discussed. The chapter reads, “Television networks still spring into action, but their on-air coverage often runs behind the frenzy of activity that unfolds on social media. Ordinary citizens break news on Twitter, bypassing news outlets completely. Meanwhile journalists scramble to gather facts, confirm them, and, if need be, debunk unfounded rumors.” This ultimately keeps journalists and their reporting in check.
    Audience engagement also gives journalists an idea of what readers want to hear and see. “What the Internet allows you to do is see that people are still talking about it. We didn’t know that a few years ago,” said Gilgoff. However, the chapter also points out how important it is for journalists not to write stories just for “clicks.” Instead, Gilgoff tells his Daily Post staff that, “before undertaking any activity, ask this simple question: Does it sell newspapers? If the answer is no, it isn’t worth doing.”

  18. My biggest fear about tweeting is how far am I really able to go with how I feel? I am always nervous as to if I can post my true opinion online because I worry it strays from neutrality. Journalists on social media should be relatable on a personable level so the audience feels as if they can connect with their news source. However, a journalist must always be careful that their printed words won’t have a bad impact on them in the future. Once something goes online, it never truly goes away.
    News via social media should never be a one-sided conversation. However, after saying that and reading your chapters, I still struggle with ways to really engage with my audience. I know I need to post more questions or do more research to find out what potential readers want to learn about, but I think I need to find a creative way to do it. Asking questions, starting the conversation, and allowing a story to take on a life of its own by engaging the audience is what makes digital news so successful. I think I could also benefit from the feedback that the audience is able to offer. This is a feature that has never been so easily accessible to a reader.
    It was also very interesting to hear that people were worried about news becoming too broad of a subject when it entered the online forum. I agree with you in that it allows people to actually focus in on the issue at hand and dive deeper. The digital format also allows for constant reporting, from breaking news to game coverage. The Internet never sleeps, and neither does the news.

  19. As someone who always has to read the audience comments to every story I read, I find the idea that journalist must engage their audience long over due. Journalism in the digital age overcomes inherent obstacles news organizations have had because of the separation between journalist and reader. In more ways than one, audience engagement creates a considerable system of checks and balance. Now that readers can instantly share their opinions, ask questions that the writer forgot, present another angle or even correct a reporter, journalists need to adhere even more closely to the core principles of accuracy and curiosity. Especially since digital content reaches a greater audience much faster and mistakes can’t be erased. Readers have forced journalists to pay attention to their communities

    However in the race for readership, news websites have sometimes lapsed in not executing digital content correctly and understanding their audience. In media planning, there is this concept that the “message is the medium.” Just because you can do a story across several different platforms, does not mean you should. Stories need to be tailored to the medium and audience. Moreover, there are many news organizations who still do not understand what uncluttered, easily navigable website looks like.

  20. Ever since the beginning of my journalism training, I have realized the importance of the relationship between audience and journalist; however, this “audience” was often something that I took for granted. It was not until I read this chapter by Jake Batsell that I began to realize how much I need to be shifting and altering my duties as a journalist in order to move with the changing relationship between journalists and the audiences we serve.

    This chapter really emphasized to me the importance of engaging and advocating for the audience – because without the audience, there would be no need for news. As Batsell points out, “Tapping into the power of a digital community requires shedding some of the work habits of a traditional reporter. Today’s journalists can’t just gather facts and quotes and dispense them to the public; they must actively seek out their audience and create opportunities” (Engaged Journalism, 44). Journalists cannot just assume that they have an audience just because they deliver the news. Cultivating and maintaining a loyal audience on the digital platforms (including social media) is absolutely necessary for good journalism to prosper. Therefore, good digital journalism today involves a wholehearted commitment to responsiveness. As Batsell says, “done well, it never ends,” (Engaged Journalism, 65). There are, of course, tradeoffs to this kind of work, as it is hard to maintain a human lifestyle and also be connected at every second of one’s day. But, in order to cultivate consistent readership, journalists must follow suit with this kind of lifestyle so that readers can have the option to experience news on their own terms.

    It is often easy to wonder why there is a need for journalists at all. However, this chapter reminded me that “context and verification always have been hallmarks of professional journalism,” and that these two pinnacles of journalistic perfection won’t be going away (Engaged Journalism, 49). A refreshing thought, huh? In the world of digital journalism, the need to find one’s voice is more important than ever.

  21. Digital journalism has recently become a huge part of my life due to my new position at The Daily Campus. At first I was kind of clueless, like the big corporations, and I was just posting on social media for likes, promoting ourselves and not really engaging with our viewers.

    After reading this chapter, I have realized how important it is to engage with readers because that’s how we keep them coming back to our page. By engaging them with interesting headlines and articles, and also breaking important news first, journalists and news publications can make sure readers keep coming back and the readers know to come to them first.

    I originally thought, like a lot of my classmates, that journalism seemed to be a dying profession due to the increase in bloggers and “citizen journalists.” Honestly, a part of me still believes that it may be dying because some readers cannot distinguish between actual journalists, bloggers, and citizen journalists, but with the increase in mobile sites and apps from news outlets I have a little glimpse of the light that’s at the end of the dark tunnel.

  22. As we’ve discovered after only a few weeks in this course, it’s a fact that digital journalism is a necessary part of our industry. I was skeptical of the transition at first, but the more I read about it, the more excited I get about this shift.

    I loved what the chapter said about engaging audiences, not just encouraging them to click “like” or “retweet,” but to really have conversations with them about issues they care about. While this makes journalists’ jobs extremely complex and more fast-paced than ever, it also makes it more meaningful. Journalism has always been vital to society, but now, with the development of technology, specifically analytics, we can really figure out what people are talking about and join in on that conversation.

    The excerpt on page 46 about repurposing social media to slow down the news cycle was especially interesting to me. For me, social media has proven to be a great way to bring people together on so many levels, and I think that sentiment is shared by the news industry. Slowing down the process will allow us and readers to really analyze what’s happening in our world.

  23. Where was God in Aurora massacre was very interesting to me, because I feel like it is a question that goes through many people’s heads. The question posed was one that anyone can answer. It was not opinionated and it appealed to everyone. It sparked engagement from all angles. People of all beliefs were able to answer which is so smart because it ignites controversy, not necessarily as the writers fault, but rather an issue out of his hands. He is just the one who posed the question. I have never thought about trying to get other peoples full opinions before writing an article, but then again I have never fully written on such a controversial issue. I think this was a very valid question to pose and I think the reaction was enough of a response to be worth it. It was all meaningful responses and very very one-sided. They don’t want to hear anything else anyone has to say. I thought the response “which God,” could have been another conversation within itself. “Which God was present in Aroura?” I think journalists should engage this way more often.

    When David Clark said, “The tools allow us to know what’s on people’s minds,” about social media that kind of caught my mind, because sometimes when my friends and I are wondering where someone is or what they think about something we say.. Well have you checked twitter or Instagram? Which seems so creepy, but we do it all the time. Social media is a way into the minds of other people and a constant way of communication.

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