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Facebook + Journalism 101Facebook + Journalism 101 Academia could be more social. So recently, I setup a Facebook Group for "Social Journalism Educators" to be able to connect and share resources around how they are teaching...

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My Next Chapter: Facebook JournalismMy Next Chapter: Facebook Journalism This was originally posted on my Facebook Page. Also, read CNN's coverage of my new role. ------ I am honored to announce that I will be joining Facebook as Journalist...

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Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook or Twitter? [STATS] Is Sharing More Valuable for Publishers on Facebook... This is an excerpt of analysis I recently wrote on Mashable about how our Twitter users interact with our content vs. those on Facebook. The result: Facebook's click-per-share...

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Facebook & Its Growing Role in Social JournalismFacebook & Its Growing Role in Social Journalism This is an excerpt from a post I recently reported for Mashable.com. Read the full piece here. A Facebook-only news organization? It was only a matter of time. The...

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New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the CommunityNew to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community For someone just starting out on Twitter, the social information network can be intimidating. It has its own language, limitations, and features that are very unique to the...

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Vadim Lavrusik Rss

Facebook + Journalism 101

Posted on : 27-07-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school, Online Journalism

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Academia could be more social. So recently, I setup a Facebook Group for “Social Journalism Educators” to be able to connect and share resources around how they are teaching social media as part of their journalism curricula. As an adjunct professor teaching social media skills for journalists at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, I wanted to learn from other professors who were teaching similar courses or integrating it into their classes on the best skills to teach students and how best to achieve that in a classroom setting. It’s been a great resource already with close to 200 members, perhaps telling of how many journalism educators are trying to understand how to best teach social as part of the core skills.

I’ve also been working on building resources over the last few months for journalists as part of my job at Facebook as Journalist Program Manager. Much of this has been published and produced on the Facebook + Journalists Page, which I’d encourage you to check out (especially the tabs). As an educator, I’ve been thinking about how some of these resources might fit into a journalism curricula, and how they might be best taught in a classroom setting. So I’ve put together a document titled “Facebook + Journalism 101″ that professors can use to integrate into journalism curricula. It’s a starting point, and highlights some of the skills I’ve taught students in how to use Facebook as a reporting tool (even before I worked at Facebook).

I’ve included some key aspects of Facebook that can be used by journalists in their reporting, as well as examples of assignments that can help familiarize students with Facebook as a reporting tool.

Facebook + Journalism 101

Journalism Schools Should Stop Producing Content That Lives on Islands

Posted on : 21-01-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Higher Education, Journalism school, Online Journalism

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The days of journalism school content living on islands that are not a part of their community should come to end. One of the ways this can be accomplished is by having journalism schools partner with campus business schools in which students from both schools work collaboratively on maintaining a living, breathing monetized news website or mobile product.

This will be my recommendation as part of the collaborative Carnival of Journalism topic, “The changing role of Universities for the information needs of a community,” and an upcoming round-table organized by David Cohn at Missouri.

In general, I think David hit it on the head when he said that at many schools, the journalism that students produce is “museum work.” It is work that is produced in a vacuum, only to be read and seen by the professors, students and sources.

In the last 5 years, journalism schools have taken a step in showcasing student work on their websites, and in some cases, like my experience at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, producing entire websites or in-depth web projects. Students are progressively able to learn to produce for the web and the web, learning multimedia and social media skills. At Columbia, almost every class had a dedicated website that either covered a neighborhood or specific topic. The problem is few people actually visited these websites because of a lack of outreach or as soon as they gained momentum they were killed off at the end of class.


Why Working With Business Schools Makes Sense


The idea behind “vacuum” journalism environments is that it creates a safe environment for students to learn, make mistakes, screw up and improve their craft. This perhaps reduces student fear and provides them with the skills they need before they jump into a “real” journalism organization, where brand is at stake.

That makes sense, but what about students that have gained fundamental skills and would like to improve their craft in the environment and pressures that working in a news organization provides? The economic pressures felt by journalists in newsrooms across the country? The pressure that forces journalists to become entrepreneurial and innovative in their solutions to journalism’s current challenges? This is why partnering with business schools makes sense.

It could start with a collaborative  class, in which both journalism school students and business school students maintain and manage a website or mobile-only news product focused on a local community that is constantly updated. I include mobile because I think mobile-only news products will become more prominent and an options as more readers consume their news on-the-go. The coverage would be focused on a community of need, combined with market research to show whether there is business demand.

This class would have to be offered year-round to be successful in building an audience and attracting interest from advertisers. The revenue generated would go to pay costs for the website and the students. And no, paying students for their journalism school work is not unheard of. At my undergraduate journalism school at the University of Minnesota, I was able to participate in a paid internship at the Star Tribune, the daily metro newspaper. The internship was really a class through the school, taught by a professor. So why not have students get paid for their work for a website they maintain and manage?

Economic incentive would force the websites and students to do more outreach and community engagement, something that has become almost expected of journalists today. The sites would no longer just be islands consumed by the few, but would instead grow into resources for local communities. It wouldn’t be easy, of course. It would take real sacrifice from students working together to build a sustainable destination for local journalism. But it could be possible if it is addressing a need for content in an under-covered community.

Not only would this provide adequate training for the journalism students, but it would also train the business school students on media and online economics and sales. And perhaps more importantly, if done right, it would fill a gap in news in a community that have had its news source recently face cutbacks.

The days of content produced by journalism students living on an island are gone, not only for the sake of students getting proper training but also the community continuing to be informed.

Emily Bell on Protecting Sources in a Networked Journalism Environment

Posted on : 13-01-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media

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After writing a piece that looks at the broken legal system in regards to social media and subpoenas recently, I got a great response from Emily Bell, director of the Tow Digital Center at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I’ve updated the piece to reflect her thoughts, but also wanted to share her full reaction here. She addresses the increasing challenges of protecting sources and journalistic work in a networked environment:

“I think that evidently Twitter has behaved as honorably as it can in the circumstances, but its reactions are those of the existing management in a specific set of circumstances – there is no set of standards or codes which oblige Twitter to behave as well as it did. What has to be troubling in all of these instances is how things could be different if circumstances or ownership changed. there is already so much data on those systems, and how many people really understand that they don’t own that material?

I would imagine that after Wikileaks, investigative journalists would keep most if not all of their interactions away from social media platforms, if they hadn’t already. These are not secure, and never will be, as they are governed by commercial rules and, in some cases, shareholders whose primary interest is not journalistic.

One of the more problematic areas is that of course in the future potential whistleblowers are unlikely to be versed in data security and the policies of individual networks as some journalists, and treat private systems for messaging as just that, without realising that their data might be given up quite easily.

In thinking about the future of the press, it is important to think how we can protect sources and this kind of communication in a digital and networked environment. It is important that the future free press also allows participants some kind of control over their identity and data – I guess that is the huge challenge for journalism in an age when tools wil increasingly be distributed.”

So You Want to Be A Journalist?

Posted on : 13-12-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media

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Before you decide, watch this video. Aside from it being humorous, it unfortunately reflects the attitude and misinformed expectations many young journalists have today.

Social Media Skills for Journalists Course and Community Engagement

Posted on : 08-09-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school, Social Media

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After its first year of inception, I am excited to be teaching “Social Media Skills for Journalists” course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. It is a five-week course aimed at helping “journalists use social media (including such social sites as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, Foursquare, YouTube, among others).”

The course was developed by Sree Sreenivasan [Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn] and Adam Glenn[Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn]. Sree was one of my deans at the Journalism School who is a social media enthusiast. He is a believer that social media is an important part of storytelling. I’ll be teaching teaching two 5-week courses, and am joined by the awesome Zach Seward, Outreach Editor, The Wall Street Journal [Twitter, Google Buzz, Facebook, LinkedIn, About Me] and Jennifer Preston, Social Media Editor, The New York Times [Twitter, Facebook LinkedIn].

The course is aimed at teaching five key things:
* find new story ideas, track trends and sources
* publish real-time news updates and community engagement
* connect with readers and viewers in new ways
* bring attention and traffic to their work
* help them create, craft and enhance their personal brand

One of the key things that’s been updated in the syllabus is more emphasis on community engagement. This is something that I thought was missing as I graduated from the Columbia Journalism School and think it is an important aspect that needs to be part of the fabric of the curriculum. I am excited about this opportunity and hope to instill not just skills, but an experimental way of thinking about technology and its applications to journalism. Now is the time to innovate.

Would love to get your thoughts on the syllabus.

The missing link in journalism curricula: Community engagement

Posted on : 12-05-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school, Online Journalism, Social Media

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Next Tuesday, I will graduate with a master’s of science degree in digital media from the prestigious Columbia University Journalism School. As I graduate, I have gained skills in reporting, video production, audio, editing, Flash, Web development (including five different websites), design and almost every other fundamental and new skill journalists need today. But one thing I still see missing from journalism schools around the country is coursework on community engagement. The philosophy behind the walls of many schools is still “we produce content, you come to us to consume.

At Columbia, the faculty quickly recognized the importance of this and this year started offering “Social Media Skills for Journalists” taught by my professor and dean of student affairs Sree Sreenivasan. It’s a great start and is teaching students to engage the audience like never before.

However, there are three components I think that are still largely missing from most journalism curricula today that could help in user engagement: learning the social media tools available for journalists to engage the audience, an understanding of what it means to cultivate community, and lastly a negative stigma to the use of data and analytics.

The Startup: Four Entrepreneurs Battle the Odds in Gotham

Posted on : 22-03-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : entrepreneurship, Journalism school, Online Journalism

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The Startup is a four-chapter video documentary with interactives on a young tech startup trying to make it in New York City. My colleague Alex Hotz and I followed the entrepreneurs behind TeamHomeField.com for the past four months as they develop and grow their web-based video application for sports teams. It’s being hosted on NYC30.com, but I wanted to feature the intro for the project here, which is included below and includes the likes Fred Wilson, Nate Westheimer, Charlie O’Donnell and more.

The intro briefly explores how the New York City’s start-up community is growing, evolving and becoming more collaborative. In 2008, 95 seed and early stage startups could be found in the Big Apple. In 2009 that number shot up to 150, according to Union Square Ventures. Many of these start-ups are technology focused, gaining prominence and growth in recent years. In many ways, the scene is reaching a new level, 3.0. This is the inspiration behind “The Startup” and its hosting website, NYC 3.0. The project was quite time-consuming and both Alex and I learned a lot. We hope you check it out at NYC 3.0 on our homepage. Also, take a look at the interactive timeline of TeamHomeField and a map of some of the tech startups in the city. This is the first project of its kind I’ve completed and have learned a lot about producing an in-depth multimedia piece.

NYC 3.0: Kommons looks to challenge Twitter for trustworthy news in real-time

Posted on : 19-02-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Online Journalism

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This was originally published on NYC 3.0, a project that covers in tech start-ups in New York.

Cody Brown, founder of Kommons and NYU Local.

Cody Brown thinks he may have stumbled across the “holy grail” in news publishing.

Brown, a senior at New York University and founder of NYU Local, is embarking on a new venture called Kommons. Kommons is a real-time news platform that’s intended for users in specific communities. He’s starting with NYU.

“It’s a culmination of everything I have learned in media so far,” Brown said. “Kommons is a quest for the holy grail in media.”

How it works

The Twitter/Wiki-like platform is in its very early stages and Brown is looking to shape the product through private alpha testing in the coming months.

From a demo of the product you might think that Kommons is a “lite” version of Twitter. But make no mistake, it’s functionality and purpose are quite different.

The Big Hurt project from Columbia Journalism School’s Digital Media Newsroom

Posted on : 18-12-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Higher Education, Journalism school

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BighurtToday marks the end of the my first semester at the one-year M.S. digital media program at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and I wanted to share a few projects.

One of these was an in-depth look at how the recession is affecting New Yorkers. Five different digital media newsroom sections covered five topics surrounding “The Big Hurt”: housing, small business, unemployment, the arts, and people changing careers as a result of being laid off. Students partnered in teams of two to produce digital media profiles that include a print piece, flash graphic, video, a custom Google Map, and slideshow (some of these profiles may be missing one of these elements because of the structure of that section or because this is still in a “soft” launch and students are finishing elements off). The structure of the course allows for you to produce and in-depth digital profile, but also learn the skills required to create a story using digital media storytelling.

What major would you recommend for a highschooler pursuing a career in journalism?

Posted on : 28-11-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Journalism school

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Meet Yuliya Barsukova. She is a 17-year-old Russian high school student applying to college with a dream to be a journalist. She even has some professional experience working for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. But right now she is trying to decide what would be the best major to prepare her for a career in journalism. She is one many that is still choosing the career despite cutbacks at many news organizations and among the record number of people applying to journalism school.

I have had a few other youngsters (I know, I myself am young too) asking me what I would recommend for a major in college to prepare them for a career in journalism. I majored in journalism. But I think that if I were to go back I would have likely picked something more on the technology side of things like computer science.