Sarah Booker


Reasons why no journalist should dismiss social media

Filed under: Social media,Storify — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 10:31 am
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Social media image by Jason Howie, licence by Creative Commons

Social media image by Jason Howie, licence by Creative Commons

Years ago colleagues used to say I was wasting my time joining discussions in the online forums for towns and villages in our patch.

Even when I tracked down someone who was evacuated from a building next to Buncefield Oil Depo as it exploded, they were still sceptical.

Time and technology move on. When I created My Space then Facebook and Twitter accounts for the Worthing Herald colleagues dismissed them as pointless.

I introduced Twitter in 2008. By the time I left the Herald in 2011 everyone in the newsroom asked my advice as they set up their own accounts.

Both Twitter and Facebook have proved useful tools for news gathering as well as distribution.

Facebook community pages and groups help reporters keep up with people’s concerns from cashpoint card cloning to inconsiderate parking and potential child abductions.

Twitter is a great way to keep track of politicians, community groups, local government and events.

Even though the internet isn’t a new thing and social media is an established tool.

Reporters of all ages and experience embrace or resist.

When I asked journalists how they would encourage resisters, there was an assumption the nay sayers were old.

I have taught online journalism skills to NCTJ students in 2009 and in every group I’ve had at least one person say, “I’m not interested in this”, “I don’t want to do online journalism”.

One student who didn’t turn up to my first class in 2009, but ended up working with later summed up the situation very well when I spoke with him at an event in 2013.

“You were the first person I knew talking about Twitter and

“You are right, we need to know this stuff, it’s essential for journalists.”

Below is a link to a Storify explaining why journalists should use social media.


links for 2011-09-01

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links for 2011-05-25

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links for 2011-05-20

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links for 2011-05-16

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List making is hard to resist

Filed under: Social media,Twitter — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 12:24 pm
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Curiosity led me to the Sunday Times Social List after spotting a few #stsl tweets and reading this blog by Adam Tinworth. I don’t consider myself influential, I share the occasional opinion and find other people far more interesting, but put myself on the list anyway for a laugh.

This will be my highest rank ever:

Sunday Times Social List ranking

Bet I won't be a 'tycoon' for long

In some ways this is a bit like Word Nerd, the Times game to show how clever you are. It was fun for about half an hour and a great piece of promotion.

At we created a top 100 most influential journalists in the UK, in early May. We seeded the list with 50 people and then threw it out to the crowd. There are journalists missing from this list, but the people on it were nominated by their peers, and then ranked according to PeerIndex‘s algorithms.

Personally I don’t think there is a definitive list. There are people who are useful and interesting to you, and they are the most important.


links for 2011-05-12

Filed under: Links — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 6:00 pm
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  • Mary's article shows how the Norwich Evening News promoted its readers' poll on Twitter by being interesting and engaging.

    It is important to have a person behind a feed to give a publication a human voice and show you are listening as well as broadcasting.

    I still support the use of feeds though, as it is labour intensive to post every story up individually. I started using feeds for the newspapers I used to work on back in 2008, because there was no one to post when I was on holiday. It kept a new service alive.


links for 2011-05-09

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links for 2011-05-05

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So that’s how a hashtag works…

Filed under: Twitter — Sarah Booker Lewis @ 9:45 am
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There is always a hashtag search buzzing away in the background while at work.

It’s another window, or two, or three, on Tweetdeck monitoring my interest du jour.

The tag maybe related to a journalism or social media conference I’m interested in, or a trending topic, it changes.

Yesterday (Friday, November 27) there was a great deal of activity on the #demo2010 tag as students started occupying more universities, and tweets were full of pictures and videos from demonstrations on Wednesday, November 24.

After updating colleagues on which of their old unis  were taken over by students one asked me: “How do you know this stuff and find it on Twitter?”

Then I explained how I followed the hashtag. It’s a simple way to find everything posted on a particular theme, topic or event.

Hence his final comment: “So that’s how a hashtag works…”

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