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Your Brand, Their Product: A Critical Look at Teaching Personal Branding in Journalism Education

Susan Currie Sivek Abstract: Journalism instructors today often teach the use of social media for the purpose of personal branding, or the strategic crafting of an online identity for career gain. However, this instruction has implications for students’ understanding of themselves, their participation in journalism, and for the integrity of the profession itself. This essay […]

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Help Students Get Started Building Their Social Network

Darren Sweeney

When I started in the TV news business in 2000, the station I worked for barely had a working website. When I volunteered to get a site up and running, management told me, “Don’t post anything until after the news airs; otherwise no one will want to watch.”

Flash forward 14 years later and management now tells us all, “Think digital first.” Not only has the practice of how we gather and report news changed, but showing prospective employers just how “networked” you are can make you a more valuable player in the competitive news job market.

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When Catastrophe Strikes, News Media Turn… to Social Media?

Darren Sweeney

When snowflakes began flying on Oct. 29, 2011, in Connecticut, newsrooms heeded the warnings of the meteorologists: heavy, wet snow on still-leafy trees meant disaster. Nearly a foot of snow fell in some areas, and Connecticut faced one of the biggest disasters in history.

When damaged trees fell on utility wires, the state experienced the biggest blackout ever. More than 800,000 people were without power, and some were stuck in their houses for up to two weeks because of downed trees, wires and power poles.

I was working as a reporter/meteorologist for the NBC affiliate in Hartford, and this was going to be one of our biggest stories. Because of the massive blackout, few people could see our reports, however. Before this storm, using social media had been just another aspect of the job. After the storm, I was thankful, as were my managers, that I had built up a social network via Facebook and Twitter. This “electronic Rolodex” helped me cover the stories following the storm and my experience gave me some lessons to take back into the classroom.

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Whom Kneads Kopy Ediotrs?

Margo Wilson

If a reporter accused military personnel at the decommissioned El Toro Marine Corps Air Station near Irvine, CA, of recklessly (or was it wrecklessly?) contaminating the soil, Mark Ludwig, my copy editing colleague at the Los Angeles Times, knew how to handle the situation. If a photographer spelled a local spelling bee champ’s last name “Abecedarian,” although the reporter spelled it “Abcedarian,” Mark made calls, sent e-mails, and checked the phone book. He would excise the offending opinion word or correct the aberrant spelling. And those were some of the least significant things he did before shepherding the story from the rim to the slot. Then, he would grin at the rest of us rim rats and nod.

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Plus ça Change: Three Observations on the State of Professional Public Relations, in the Classroom and Out

Ginger R. Carter Miller

There’s an old French idiom that says, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.

When examining the state of the public relations industry—and public relations education—it appears this idiom is accurate.

For as much as the delivery methods and modes of public relations and media industries change in a flash, the fundamentals of the industry continue to stand true. Public relations keeps pace with the needs of clients and journalists alike with the newest trending topics—as evidenced by Small Programs Interest Group presentations at the AEJMC National Conference in St. Louis in 2011—but at least three standards persevere in PR […]

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