Sandra Crucianelli believes that journalists who use social media need to do a better job of interacting with their readers instead of acting like company spokespersons. “It’s been proven that people prefer to talk with people not brands,” said the Argentinian reporter and editor who will teach the webinar “The Journalist’s Role with Social Media.
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas' webinar will be taught in Spanish on August 18 from 12-2 p.m. CDT. Registration is now open and journalists have until 9 a.m. CDT on August 18 to sign up. To go to the registration page, click here.
In the two-hour session, Crucianelli will offer tips about using social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Google +. “Many media outlets have a Facebook presence, but the most important thing is not the number of people who like their page but rather the interaction that exists between the members of that page,” she said. “Today it’s the presence of the journalist that is preferable to the brand.”
But while Crucianelli believes that journalists should "show personality” on their social network pages, she advises that they adopt a “respectful tone, a professional tone,” when posting or commenting on their sites. “In a social network you have to behave as if you are in a public plaza conversing with people.”
She also suggests that reporters keep their personal pages separate from their public ones. ‘The private life of a journalist should be on one side and the professional life on the other,” she said.
Crucianelli, who is an award-winning investigative reporter, also hosts a television show in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of SoloLocal.Info, a digital journalism site. She teaches for several international organizations, including the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, the International Media Center at Florida International University, and the Organization of American States’ Trust for the Americas program. Her e-book, “Herramientas Digitales Para Periodistas” (Digital Tools for Journalists), has been downloaded over 45,000 times in Spanish and Portuguese.
During the webinar she will show journalists how to use online tools to protect their reputation, how to use hashtags, and how to use Twitter, Facebook and Google for newsgathering.
She described how she once noticed a column of smoke rising over the city during a live shot. Immediately she tweeted asking if anyone knew about the smoke. “In five seconds a person replied that a paint store was burning in such and such a place and I had the answer in five seconds!”
However, she warns, reporters need to be careful before trusting sources they meet online. “I investigate the person before I take their information,” she explained. “You have to check out the information. This is basic journalism.”
And while Crucianelli expects that the webinar will show journalists how to use the “latest developments in social media networks”, she also hopes they will realize that “Facebook and Twitter can be platforms for debate but not for fighting,” she said. "This is not a boxing ring.”
The Knight Center was founded in 2002 with a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation by Professor Rosental Alves with the goal of helping journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean improve the quality of journalism in their countries. The center also receives contributions from other donors such as Open Society Foundations and University of Texas.