The power of social media for journalists

Social media is one of the fastest and easiest ways for people to communicate with others from anywhere in the world – since at the click of a button you can instantly message anyone which would not be possible if social media did not exist today.

Social media has proved itself to be such an important tool for journalists, especially with the use of Twitter – since they are able to communicate with a large audience of people to discuss the recent news stories with. Jenkins as cited in (Fuchs, 2014) describes social media as a ‘participatory culture’ since it allows the public to be involved in the discussion of certain topics that interest them with other people who also feel the same way. This allows people to be creative and expressive in a discussion of topics that they all have a connection to. Jenkins further says that participatory culture brings about social connection, which means that people involved in the conversation start to care about what the others think about the content. These were some important ideas that were also conveyed in week ten’s lecture.

I definitely use social media websites such as Facebook to engage with others about social issues that catch my interest, this is done by the use of ‘sharing’ news articles and ideas, which then appear on all my friend’s home pages. During this week’s lecture, the lecturer urged us all to be active on Twitter because it is one of the most influential social media websites for social discussion and participation. As a journalist, I will aim to make the most out of the social benefits social media.


My story: Update!

Over the past few days, I have been trying to think of ways that I can refine my story and make it really interesting for people to read.

After my meeting with Carla from the Birkdale Community House a while ago, I knew that I had chosen the right story. Why? Because Carla was so passionate about the Community Project and helping people in the community. I thought that this made her a pretty inspiring role model since she is truly devoted to putting everyone before herself. This is such an admirable trait for a person to have.

The angle I am going to take on my story – is to find out WHY Carla and her team are so dedicated to ensuring that everyone in the community is looked after and cared for. Also, what makes this particular community house special from others in Auckland? The Community House is always changing the groups they have in order to cater to everyone’s needs and wants. I am very happy with my story because I think that it will be beneficial to spread the good efforts that The Birkdale Community House is performing for the community – since Carla and her team are truly making a difference in the community and their hard work needs to be showcased to the public. Their work is truly fulfilling and is something that needs to be widely encouraged within the community to bring about more kindness and compassion amongst people. This seems like a simple idea, but it is something that does often get neglected in everyday life situations.

Spot news

To be a journalist has always excited me – the thought of meeting new people, travelling and writing. I have always thought of it as an occupation that is extremely fulfilling since you are always learning new things, therefore how could you ever get bored of such a fast pace job? I do not think any journalist would say that they hate their job. Why? Because you are always learning about the world and what is going on around you. I have always thought of journalism as one of the most exciting jobs anyone can have.

However, after this week’s lecture on ‘Spot News,’ I realised that I needed to consider the implications of journalism which I had not really thought about before. The lecturer discussed that there are times where you might not enjoy being a journalist as much. For example, when you have to interview a family about one of their deceased family members, which can be a very tricky and tearful situation. As a journalist, you have to act respectably and continue the interview and make sure that you convey accurate information about that person in any article that you print about them. Since your article may be one of the last times that the public will hear about that person, therefore you need to be courteous and thoughtful.

In regards to my story, things are going very well and I am getting excited to finally publish my story in week 12!


News values

This week I had a meeting with Carla Walen (one of the community project leaders) and she gave me a very good overview of the Community Project and the possible things that I could focus my story on. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to focus on the Community Project as a whole, and how it helps many people in the community for different purposes. It is a community project that is always evolving to suit the societies needs. There are many different clubs within the Community house, which include headings such as languages, music, environmental, health, religion, culture, games, arts and crafts and more.

During this week’s lecture on ‘journalism and public relations’, I learned some valuable information about Galtung and Ruge’s news values. These certain values influence how a certain story is presented to the public. These values range from how relevant the event is, to if there is a human interest angle. In regards to my story, I think that my story will be very relevant to the public. Since it focuses on a community project that is aiming to better the lives of everyone in their community. The Community Project is always evolving in order to suit the community’s needs, and therefore the project is very relevant to society. It is one of the first Community Houses in New Zealand and has been operating since 1975, and continues to become more successful over the years.


Finally! My story.

After a while of not having an idea of what my story could be, I finally found one! The area I live in (Birkdale) can get pretty boring on a daily basis. However, I contacted the Birkdale/Beach haven Community Project, who is just up the road from where I live, and Carla van Walen (head of the project) responded saying that they would be more than happy to help me with my story. I chose to contact her because they are constantly in contact with many people in the Birkdale/Beachhaven community, and host many events for particular things that the community wants. For example, a group for single mothers. There is a variety of groups such as art classes, to yoga classes with a vast range of people involved in a continuous cycle of new events every week. I have arranged to meet up with Mrs Walen on Monday to talk about the different possibilities that I could write my story on. I am very excited to see my story unfold shortly.

In relation to the ‘upside-down pyramid’ mentioned in the Conley reading, I have tried to think about aspects of my story that would be the most important that I would clearly mention at the beginning. However, the Community Project has such a vast range of activities, which means that it may be hard for me to clearly establish this information at the beginning of my story.


Do Aucklanders love Donald Trump?


Sara Dajani and Becky Simms

Never assume…

After this week’s lecture, the main point that I picked up was to never assume details from a case, or a subject. It can be easy to automatically assume that an event happened a certain way, or that a person’s reaction to something might have went a certain way… but you can never be sure. Even though ‘to not assume’ is such a simple thing to do, it is something important that many people forget. Therefore, it is important to ask and check your subject about further details before carrying on your interview. As a journalist, it is important to be able to talk openly with a range of different people. By this I mean, there is not much room to be shy. You need to be able to ask questions, often. And if you are unsure of something, make sure to ask them. You never know what they could respond back, it could make your article that much more interesting.

In relation to my story, I have gathered some possible interesting subjects on my street that I could interview. However, it is a process that I am currently going through the beginning stages of. I have to think about the Sharon Wheeler reading from this week, and make sure to clearly label the facts within my interview, and make sure to ask open minded questions so that I can get the most out of my interview.

The struggle

I have been thinking about the people that live on my street and the possible stories that I would be able to extract from them. This process has made me realise that there are actually so many possibilities of things to write about in relation to what people are interested in. We are literally surrounded by a variety of people who all have their own unique lives from each other.

As I kept thinking about a story, I thought about the local Birkdale community leader that lives on my street. For the past 10 years that I have lived in my household, I have always seen her driving around in her flower decorated car. I have always been intrigued about what her life is like, and what she gets up to on the daily basis in Birkdale. I am going to try get in touch with her. Even though my area is not particularly exciting (from my point of view), from her point of view there could be a lot of things happening in my area that I have always been unaware of.

After reading this week’s reading by Grant Harris about the inverted pyramid, I have thought about writing about a particular newsworthy topic that is going on within the Birkdale Community House that I will have clearly stated at the beginning of my article (known as ‘the slug’) in order to draw readers attention.


Finding a story

Something interesting that I took away with me from week two’s lecture was, NEWS; North, East, West, South. News basically consists of stories from all around the world. One of the most important ideas that I picked up from this week’s lecture is that the audience is one of the most important aspects of a story. The audience has to find interest in the story that a journalist is broadcasting to the world. This made me think about our neighbourhood assignment. I need to find a story that is compelling and that people will be able to connect to on a level of interest.

In regards to my neighbourhood story, I am still searching. I have been thinking of many ideas, however, I have not been struck by a story yet and I do need to continue my search. The area that I live in, is interesting. The range of people that live in my area is massive. I am almost certain that I will be able to find a story.
Just next to the road from where I am now, is where Blessie Gotingco was tragically abducted on her way home, from the same bus-stop that I get off the bus at. This is one of the most well-known news stories that have ever surfaced in my area in the past.

As of now, I am still in the hunt for a good story that I will be able to unravel within the following weeks of this semester. I hope to find one soon.


Blog at

Up ↑