The costs of Twitter journalism: Teaching journalism students how to tweet without giving away the whole story and potential profit

TitleThe costs of Twitter journalism: Teaching journalism students how to tweet without giving away the whole story and potential profit
Publication TypeConference Paper
Author(s)Govender-Bateman, S.
Affiliation (1st Author)New Media and Print Lecturer - Tshwane University of Technology
Section or WGJournalism Research and Education Section
DateThurs 27 June
Slot CodeJRE T1b
Slot Code (Keyword)JRE T1b
Time of Session9:00-10:30
Session TitleHybridization of Media, Twitter and Political Implications Theme II: Innovations in Journalism
Submission ID5076

As Twitter journalism gains momentum and creates new dimensions to the traditional news landscape in South Africa, it is imperative that journalism institutions educate students on how to use the social media platform optimally and without jeopardising the short-term and long-term profits of their future media organisations. This paper explores the growing use of Twitter amongst South African mainstream journalists in the print and broadcast industries. Using case studies of timelines of selected journalists who are active on Twitter, this paper will analyse the differences between the tweets relating to specific news events and the impact, whether negative or positive, it had on the content of the end product which would be the newspaper or radio news bulletin. This will be done through a comparison of information in the journalists timeline with the information provided in the end product. Looking at the use of new media in relation to news production, some South African traditional media organisations are struggling to keep up to pace with media convergence whilst others have embraced it and keep astride of ongoing developments. Bearing in mind that the core aim of any mainstream news organisation is to make profit, it is then necessary to look at the varied approaches of different organisations as well as their policies, if any, regarding their journalists’ use of social media in a work capacity. Using the above analysis, this paper will look at the current Online Media syllabus at the Tshwane University of Technology and the content of the course in relation to the teaching of Twitter journalism, and use of other social media platforms to enhance student journalists’ end products. It will also explore how teaching the syllabus can be revised and expanded to train student journalists to use Twitter when they enter industry, without giving away the whole story and with that, potential profit.

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