Tuesday Twitter Interview (#TueTwiew) with @MalaBhargava on Social Media & Journalism in India

Social Media Journalism

Last tuesday on 11th June 2013 I had an opportunity to interact with @MalaBhargava on Twitter who is a very popular columnist with BusinessWorld and a journalist who has been using Social Media in and out on an everyday basis to reach out to mass and individuals for purposes related to her profession. The objective of this twitter interview was to understand her perspective on How Social Media is helping or changing Journalism. We did have some insightful discussion and here are tit bits of the conversation for your reference:

1st Question on Twitter: How do you define this merge Social Media & Journalism? #TueTwiew based on your experience.

Mala’s Response:

  • Inevitable Journalists have to be where people are, and they are on social networks. 
  • Journalism can’t be apart from social media, once social has become a full other dimension of our life.
  • If a journalist isn’t on social, he or she will be busy being forgotten. That’s a matter of time
  • If you’ll.notice, journalists are a big part of the social web. Specially on Twitter, YouTube and blogs.
  • Journalists were among the 1st to explore social As it was clear that it would be the new home of news, it was join or go

2nd Question: How Traditional News brands are leveraging Social Media? Print or TV? who is accepting more?

Mala’s Response:

  • Traditional media were under threat of extinction from social media. But today the media has learned to be social.
  • Print or TV: both have no choice but to not just accept but be a prominent part of the social media landscape
  • Every publication or channel has a proper social media presence. Everyone online follows several of them.
  • My Take on her opinion:Only leading Publications have understood Its value I believe. 🙂 Still, many to believe in it!
  • Mala’s Response to it: they stand to face obsolescence.

3rd Question: What’s your take on Citizen Journalism? Should Media house bring platforms like iReport? Like How CNN did?

Mala’s Response:

  • Citizen Journalism is something I find condescending. Citizens will make their viewers known with or without the media.
  • With the Delhi rape protests you saw social media and journalists work hand in hand.
  • Citizen journalism efforts do however give a voice to the voiceless. TV hasn’t disappeared after all.

4th Question: I see TOI has come with Times Rewards incentives based model 4 online audience who share & interact. Competition? Your view?

Mala’s Response:

  • They keep trying to encourage social media to go their way,but nobody can own or tame social media. Still, I suppose they will try, 
  • Social media has brought about the democratisation of content. News and views being to everyone. 

5th Question: As a Journalist / writer, in what ways you use Social Media to create a story on Social Media or Technology?

Mala’s Response:

  • Many many ways.
  • First of all I use it to learn.
  • What better way to build expertise, talk to experts, to people in your domain.
  • It’s also somewhere where I build a personnel brand, for every journalist has to be his own marketer today.
  • On social media you come across information you can never find anywhere else.
  • You get access to people in a way that you could never have done before.
  • It’s unprecedented access to people and events
  • Using social media can let your enrich your story as a writer
  • The amount of life you can infuse into a story is amazing, Quotes, opinion, real time real world stuff.

Sixth Question Comes from Audience (@KanuPriyaSindhu): How about people copying whole story from social media itself? How about crowdsourcing? 

Mala’s Response:

  • The problem comes when you pretend to be sole expert and don’t acknowledge the wisdom of crowds or contributors. There is no shame in asking the crowd – Crowdsourcing with credits is okay! 
  • Copying is not okay whether it’s on social media or otherwise

7th Question: Does SM pressurizes Journalists for the accuracy, credibility of info & the Need to uphold Responsible Journalism ?

Mala’s Response: 

  • Yes social media does pressurise journalists to be accurate and credible. It does the same with many other industries.
  • Social Media brings in a transparency and see we haven’t seen.
  • if you make an error on have a strange opinion, somebody is sure to question you and the best way to learn is to be questioned.

8th Question: Traditional News Stories ending up with a note – Continued Discussions on FB/Twitter – Need of the hour? Your take?

Mala’s Response:

  • Discussion is where you see the impact of your content and it is another thing that was never possible not so long ago. 
  • There used to be no connection between a writer and his audience except for letters that take ages. Today you can discuss news as it happens. 
  • My take: I see the ‘discussion’ part lacking! May be we shall soon see papers with clickable links ;D
  • Mala’s Response: They do have them on their websites 🙂
  • And you will sometimes find that the main story lies in the comments that are there from readers
  • But it’s also a part of the writer’s responsibility to generate discussion . It’s tough.
  • A journalist’s life has become more difficult and more easy thanx to Social Media.
  • My take:Difficult because of Responsibility and easy because of accessibility! 🙂 Agree?
  • Mala’s Response: Difficult because of competition and time pressure, easy because of access to information. Easy because there are so many tools, difficult because one has to figure out how to use them 🙂
  • Remember, Social Media is a Great Correcter!

At the end of the interview session, Mala did suggest Twitter as a primary tool for Journalist and LinkedIn’s Pro account as an important tool to reach out to potential people to get insights for stories. However, this discussion was super efficient, I learnt a lot myself! Few of my favorite lines from the above conversations are:

Social Media is a Great Correcter, Journalists were first to explore Social, Social Media has brought democratization of the content. 

Thank You Mala Bhargava for doing this interview, there are so many tips and advices which will definitely benefit young journalists and practitioners who haven’t really taken Social Media Seriously!

 

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