Mainstream media not as negative as The People

As Americans approach the polls in less than 24 hours, many are just thankful that the circus will be over. In this election and others, many have complained about negative advertisements and media coverage. However, a recent Pew Internet study shows that individual Americans may be just as much to blame as the media. That’s because now that we, the people, have the power via social media to say anything and everything we want, we are being just as negative – or rather, more negative – than the media and candidates themselves.

Throughout this election cycle, I have heard numerous Facebook and Twitter friends complain about how annoying it is to see friends talking about politics via social networks. At first, my thought was that we should be proud and glad that we can speak our opinions regarding politics, whether in person, in print or online. In some places, speaking ill of leaders, whether in person or digitally, could result in harsh punishment. However, after doing some thinking and after seeing this study, I realized people are probably most frustrated with the negativity that is on our social networks rather than the actual political discussion. But we can’t shut off all discussion just because others want to ruin it. Instead, we need to look at ourselves, at the reasons why we use social networking sites and the people we are looking to reach through them.

For myself, I use social networking sites to communicate with friends, family, acquaintances and others. It is fun and laid-back, but that does not mean it should be rude, offensive or hurtful toward others. I am looking for honest, intelligent, and sometimes entertaining information and updates, and people looking for the same things are going to reach me.

It’s too late to change the discourse of the 2012 political campaign season. But perhaps for the next election, we can all be a little more civil online. We can have informed discussions  on politics — both online and in person — without being negative or hateful. We can agree to disagree, and we can agree that hatefulness is not the answer.

And we can realize that if we can’t be civil with our friends and acquaintances on social networking sites, how can we expect the media and the candidates to be civil during a campaign? It’s on us to do better next time.

With that being said, it’s time to go vote! No matter who you choose, it’s important to participate. We owe it to those who came before us and to those who do not have the same privilege we are able to enjoy.

Happy Election Day!

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Will commenting break online news organizations?

I’ll be honest. When I started to write this post, I planned on going in a completely different direction.

I thought I would rant for a while about how The Buffalo News doesn’t get social media because of how difficult it is to post a simple “Great article” comment, let alone a ranting-and-raving comment. However, as I researched the article I originally tried to comment on, I came across another article regarding the comment sections and how they had changed.

Basically, the editor explained people had abused the commenting privileges by posting racist and hateful things. She and the other editors believed this was largely because commenters could act anonymously.

So, to combat this issue, The News decided to eliminate that anonymity. To comment on a story, readers now have to go through a registration process that involves verifying the commenter’s identity through the post office and by phone.

Getting rid of anonymity makes sense. If people are going to say hateful things, they should at least have their names attached.

However, this obstacle-ridden process makes it challenging for someone like myself to comment on a story. Not being from the Buffalo area, I probably won’t have much to do with The Buffalo News after leaving Bonaventure, so I felt immediately frustrated when asked to go through a lengthy verification process just to say, “Nice work!” and then probably never comment again.

While this experience saddened me, it’s surely an interesting debate, which Ms. Sullivan mentions. But is how the The Buffalo News handled the debate the best possible option? Surely there’s no black-and-white answer here, but what do you think?

How should news organizations manage stories’ online comments section?

Marketing = Journalism = Marketing = Journalism …

It sounds silly, but my junior year of college is when I really “found” myself professionally.

I did so by trying all kinds of new things and by expanding my leadership experience. I joined an advertising class and the American Advertising Federation, took an introductory marketing class, applied (and got) a summer corporate communications internship, served as editor-in-chief of my university’s student newspaper and maintained a 3.5-something GPA.

But this post isn’t about bragging.

These experiences subtlety show how I had my legs in , marketing and journalism, thinking they were two completely different worlds. But these worlds are actually one in the same. These experiences have helped me learn something important: Marketing is journalism and journalism is marketing.

Let’s start with the first one: Marketing is journalism.

Gone are the days of simply pushing out ads urging customers to buy, buy, buy!

This strategy might work in a few cases, but for the most part, marketers need to be genuine and to establish trust. They do this by creating honest information and resources that people will care about and that people will come to depend on. In most cases, people won’t buy from someone they don’t trust.

Acting objectively and fairly like a journalist builds trust and helps a customer feel he or she can depend not only on the information the company provides, but also on the product or service the company provides. Then, the company has to live up to that feeling by delivering on the promise.

Now second: Journalism is marketing.

Journalists out there might scowl right about now, but it’s true. No matter how objectively you report, you’re still giving out an idea and requesting or hoping people take in that idea as fact. You could report the most accurate version of a story using the most powerful words, but if people don’t buy into that story, you’ve lost. No one is going to read and you’re going to go out of business.

In the past, these worlds were separate from each other, but technology and other factors have brought them closer together than ever. For this reason and others, I’m so glad I decided to combine these industries my junior year, and I hope to expand professionally in both areas .

Before closing, here are just a few things marketers and journalists have in common:

  • They both work for an audience. For marketers, the audience is customers; for journalists, it’s readers, who are essentially customers of information.
  • They both sell ideas. Even unbiased, objective journalists have to sell you the idea that they’re unbiased and objective.
  • They both need creativity, honesty and strategy. Journalists and marketers who bore and lie to their audiences will be ignored. Also, journalists and marketers who ignore and fail to have at least a fuzzy plan for the future will also fail.

I could go on, but I ask you: What else do journalists and marketers have in common?

Does journalist = marketer (and vice versa)?

Being a journalist-slash-marketer may seem like a paradox, but in today’s world, journalists must be marketers and marketers must be journalists.

Luckily, large newspapers like The New York Times are realizing this, as shown in an AdAge.com article about the Times‘ increased use of social media and two-way communication tools. In the article, the author writes USA Today, the Times and The Wall Street Journal are all still trying to grasp social media by asking itself following questions:

Should social media belong to a designated editor, to the whole staff or both?

Is a staff evangelist for social media ever finished with her work?

And what happens when the next big thing bubbles up?

Continue reading “Does journalist = marketer (and vice versa)?”