What happens on Twitter won’t stay on Twitter

We live in a 24/7 news cycle world where information can be shared across the globe within seconds. With social media websites, everyone can be their own reporter.

High school students in Steubenville, Ohio did exactly that.

Two teenage boys made headlines this week when they were found guilty of raping an intoxicated 16-year-old girl last summer.

Their victim woke up the next morning to find most of her things missing and a foggy memory.  She couldn’t remember what happened until she logged onto Twitter.

Not only did 17-year-old Trent Mays and 16-year-old Ma’lik Richmond commit the crime, but others stood by, took photos and videos, posted them on the Internet and did nothing to stop it. The victim found nude photos of herself and a video of the boys joking about the incident afterwards.

Perhaps the most upsetting part of this story is that it’s possible that nobody would have known about the incident if their peers hadn’t documented the actions and kindly shared them on Twitter.

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#Facebook to incorportate hashtag into website


What would Twitter be without the hashtag?

Think about it.

The hashtag first emerged in 2007, when Chris Messina tweeted “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?”

With over one billion tweets sent every 2 to 3 days, the hashtag has become a staple for every  Twitter user.  Other websites including, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, Youtube, WordPress and Pinterest have also taken advantage of the idea as a way for users to search certain subjects.

Hashtags have even become a part of everyday speech. This morning I heard my roommate say, “hashtag long hair don’t care” while getting ready for class.

Hashtags are everywhere on television too, making sure that viewers remember to tweet about their favorite primetime show or product. During this year’s Super Bowl, almost half of the 52 national TV commercials that aired during the Super Bowl included a hashtag in the advertisement.

Facebook has taken notice too, and recent news headlines suggest that the social media powerhouse plans to somehow incorporate the hashtag into their website.

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Today’s youth find news through fake comedy shows


Jon Stewart: stand-up satirist and The Daily Show host, news anchor, or serious film director?

Apparently all three.

Stewart will be taking a break from hosting this summer for 12 weeks to film his directorial debut, Rose Water.  The film will tell the true story of Maziar Bahari, a journalist who spent 118 days in an Iranian prison in 2009.

Before you react with hysterics, no, The Daily Show will continue on as planned.  John Oliver will take Stewart’s place during his hiatus.

For some, this means that a comedy show will continue, but for others this means that their main news source won’t be disappearing.

The Pew Research Center released a study showing that 10 percent of the audience watch the show for its news headlines, two percent for in-depth reporting, and 43 percent for entertainment, compared with 64 percent who watch CNN for news headlines.

10 percent might not seem like much, but to me it’s ten percent too much.

According to the same study, only 10 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds watching television are tuning in to the evening news on ABC, NBC and CBS combined. By comparison, 13 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds say they watch The Daily Show regularly as an information source.

TV.com described The Daily Show as:

“Forget the 24 hour biased left wing news media, the best fake news show in the world will provide you with all the news you can handle. The Daily Show is a comedic view of recent news headlines and political figures through a series of satirical monologues by Jon Stewart along with segments by “correspondents” and finally interviews with guest celebrities and political figures.”

10 percent of viewers are getting their news from a “fake news show.” Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?

In 2011, networks realized that Jon Stewart beat Fox News in ratings, his biggest competition. The Daily Show averaged 2.3 million viewers, while most of the Fox News prime time and day time line up averaged only 1.85 million viewers.

The times they are a-changin’.

Today, news is on a 24/7 cycle and people are getting their news from fake comedy news shows.

It’s likely that 10 percent will rise. Media professionals will have to do more in the future to interest their audience, even if that means adding comedic elements to a newscast or story.

A decent lede will not be enough anymore.

The 140-character attention span


140 characters is all it takes.

According to the Associated Press, in 2012 the average human attention span dropped to eight seconds – that’s one second less than the attention span of a goldfish.

Some say social media is to blame.

Twitter has forever changed media and the way human beings interact with each other.  With over 500 million registered users as of 2012, generating over 340 million tweets daily and handling over 1.6 billion search queries per day, Twitter has become one of the most used websites on the internet.

Twitter isn’t the only one.

Social Media Today published an analysis that Facebook posts of 70 characters or less get the most likes and comments; posts from 71 to 140 characters do less well; and the number of likes drops tremendously when posts are more than 140 characters. Websites like Pinterest and Tumblr are a continuous feed of photos and little text.  A new website called Vine, which hosts videos with a limit of six seconds, has also joined the race for the shortest content. Coincidence?

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Former reporter offers insight to changing media


“Most of you will be working in jobs one day that don’t exist right now.”

During my first day at St. Bonaventure, my professors told me this.  It wasn’t until recently that I started to believe it.

The face of the media world looks much different now than it did decades ago.  Newspapers no longer dominate it, and those who have worked in Journalism since then have watched the changes firsthand.

Jim Romenesko is one of them.  He is mostly known for his media blog now, but spent the early years of his career as a newspaper reporter.

Romenesko said he blames most of the changes on technology. 

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More students taking advantage of blogging

The harsh reality is that college graduates unintentionally enter a competition for jobs after completing their final semester. A recent study said that approximately 70 applicants apply for each available job.

Some journalism students at St. Bonaventure University are adding something extra to their resume to set themselves apart from other job applicants.  Blogging is an easy way to publish your material and distribute it to your readers. It is also a way to show an employer your skills.

“A blog is a great place to showcase multimedia projects and keep different things in the same place of access,” said Karly Gombert, a junior, who started a blog of her own last year.

Although Gombert doesn’t graduate until December, she has already put the link to her blog on her resume.

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The New Age of Investigative Journalism

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In 1950, the average daily total paid circulation for daily newspapers in the United States was 53.8 million.  By 2010, the average daily total paid circulation for daily newspapers was about 43.4 million, according to a 2011 study.

Technology is partially responsible for this. Smartphones and the Internet have transformed the media making it readily available to the public at any time of the day. In the past decade, more people are getting their news through these mediums than through print.

The number of jobs available in print journalism is dropping.  Jobs from reporter to delivery truck driver showed the payroll shrinking from 336,000 at the start of 2009 to 313,600 through October, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This is a drop of 22,400 positions.

However, some are adjusting to the changes. Last year, former Buffalo News reporter Jim Heaney founded Investigative Post, a non-profit online investigative reporting center focused on issues of importance to Buffalo and Western New York.  Former dean of St. Bonaventure University’s Russell J. Jandoli Journalism and Mass Communication School Lee Coppola serves as president of the organization.

The staff at Investigative Post are experienced reporters and the website is updated with new material every day.

There are more than 40 cities and regions around the nation with a non-profit investigative reporting center. According to investigativepost.org, most of the centers have been established in the past five years in reaction to cutbacks in newspaper and television newsrooms that have hamstrung their ability to produce investigative and other in-depth coverage.

Instead of competing with other news outlets, the staff at Investigative Post collaborates with them.  So far, they have partnered with WGRZ, 2 on Your Side, the NBC affiliate for Buffalo and Western New York, Artvoice, the region’s alternative newsweekly, and WBFO, 88.7 FM, the region’s national public radio outlet.

Investigative Post has also partnered with St. Bonaventure, University at Buffalo and Medaille College to provide undergraduate students with internship and job opportunities.

“In this world of diminishing investigative journalism resources, Investigative Post provides another means for shedding light on what some want hidden,” Coppola states on the website. “As far as I’m concerned, the more experienced investigative journalistic eyes watching what happens in our region, the better.”

As a freshman at St. Bonaventure, I was told that many of us would be hired for jobs that don’t exist now.  Two years later, I’m starting to believe it.  Journalism is changing but won’t disappear.