“The socialization of news is clearly the right direction for journalism,” begins Briggs in his tenth chapter of JournalismNext.

This chapter explores the idea of news being a conversation, rather than “a lecture,” and how conversing through social networking can add to one’s story.

“Three areas of evolution suggest a brighter future for comments on news stories:

  • The technology is getting better
  • Newsrooms are accepting more responsibility
  • The commenters are expecting more from each other.”

When commenting on the necessity to make news a conversation (rather than a lecture), Briggs acknowledges that “while the primary motivation for offering social tools on news sites [is] to stay technologically relevant, the reward goes beyond giving the audience a chance to play, too.”

Briggs even throws in some statistics about social bookmarking and advertising, given by a Bivings Group report which can be found here.

Some other major benefits Briggs mentions for news being a conversation include:

  • Providing transparency on the reporting process
  • Enable an immediate feedback loop
  • Spread awareness of news coverage through word-of-mouth marketing

Overall, although one always runs the risk of “potential headaches [from] offensive anonymous posts,” by including user/reader interactivity, “the benefit earned through a constructive and collaborative relationship between journalists and their audience is well worth the effort.

Briggs also discusses how to build and manage an online community through making news participatory and collaborating with one’s community. Then, he explains how to keep conversations accurate and ethical by setting guidelines for participants, monitoring offensive posts, knowing one’s legal responsibilities and correcting errors.

“Social media, used correctly, connects journalists and reporters to people and information.”

This may be the first chapter in which I couldn’t agree more with every point raised.

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