Reporters should be taught vital social media skills as part of their training, say editors.
Media website, HoldTheFrontPage, reports that the topic was up for discussion at the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ digital training seminar which was attended by a number of regional editors at the forefront of digital journalism.
The seminar, held at the Press Association in London, looked at how digital journalism techniques for getting stories first and breaking the news are essential for all journalists and should be integrated into training.
Chris Maguire, editor of the Chorley and Leyland Guardian, said at the seminar that the need for social media skills were no longer option and they must now be integrated into journalist training.
“'It is important to the regional press because we can’t be everywhere, but we can use social media. For newspapers to be relevant they have to be relevant to the lives of their audience. Social media gives you a bigger voice'," he added.
“Social media can find stories. It can’t write them.”
Fergus Bell, a senior producer at Associated Press, said that social media helped his news team to find and share stories and he used Twitter on a daily basis.
Bell is quoted as saying: “It is real people in a digital space. If you tweet something it’s real. To ignore Facebook is to ignore stories.”
HTFP said that speakers agreed that social media is important in the newsroom but stressed that Facebook and Twitter are not a substitute for essential journalism skills such as shorthand, law and the ability to meet and connect with people.
The event was chaired by Andrew Hawken, head of digital media at Sky News.