Advice from a social media expert: Christine Loman

Christine Loman’s Journey

Christine Loman graduated from Ithaca College in 2011. As someone who will be graduating this May, I am actively seeking out and listening to advice from alumni more than ever. My Mobile and Social Media Journalism class had the opportunity to FaceTime with Loman this morning.

After graduating from Ithaca College, Loman went to work at a small newspaper in the Southern Tier. This newspaper gave her her start as a reporter, but was extremely traditional. The brand relied on their print newspaper, with no plan on looking into the future of a “digital first” mindset. Loman was the clearly the youngest employee, and the only female who did not hold a secretarial position. Loman knew print media was not going to last forever, and social media was going to become a “must”.

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Media Literacy & Fact Checking

“Fake news” is a term that has been thrown around a lot in recent times. It may sound redundant, but it is severely damaging to the reputation of journalists. The more the general public is misinformed, the more we are going to be seen as untrustworthy. However, it can be difficult to decipher what sources are truthful and which are not.

For example, Nieman Lab recently came out with an article called “Even smart people are shockingly bad at analyzing sources online. This might be an actual solution”. The articles details a study done by researchers at Stanford about fact-checking. The researchers gave 25 students, 10 professional fact checkers, and 10 Ph.D. historians a series of fact-checking tasks.

For example, the participants were given the websites of the “American Academy of Pediatrics” and the “American College of Pediatricians”. Then, the subjects had to decide which website was more legitimate. At first glance, both websites look professionally made and seem to be a source of non-biased information. However, the Academy is the main hub for pediatricians across the nation. The organization releases an educational journal for doctors, and has over 60,000 members. On the contrary, the College stemmed from the Academy, because of their stance on same-sex couples adopting. It also has a fraction of the members, and staff.

100% of the fact checkers claimed the Academy as being more trustworthy, whereas only 50% of historians made the same claim.

64% of students actually claimed the contrary, and believed the College seemed more reliable. When asked why, students claimed that the look of the website was more user-friendly and the lack of advertisements made it seem more legitimate.

Websites like Snopes.com can help any news-consumer. Simply type in the news you heard in the search bar, and Snopes will break it down into: claim, rating of how accurate the news is, the origin of the news, and how much is true/false. It is a great tool not just for journalists, but for anyone wanting to verify something they read online.

“Mobile and Social Media Journalism”: Chapter 1 Discussion

“Mobile and Social Media Journalism” by Anthony Adornato explores the role that social media plays in journalism today. With the ever-changing amount of technology that is entering our world, journalists have so many more resources and tools at their fingertips. Even more importantly, the general public has many more resources and tools at their fingertips as well. A positive aspect of this is that tips are able to be sent in from anywhere. If breaking news happens in Miami, FL, a journalist from California may not know what happened until he or she sees a tweet. Crowdsourcing can also prove to be an effective way of gathering information, especially a video of an event that only happened once. However, this can also prove to be problematic. Fake news can easily be spread, and a general audience that does have the ability to differentiate what is real and what is not can create a distrust in journalists.

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