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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.

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.

More journalism schools should partner with business schools

Posted on : 16-08-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Higher Education

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Credit: Sean Horan

The title says it all. Today, I start classes at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. And after reading Patrick Thornton’s post on being honest about journalism school and its worth, I started thinking about what I think is missing at many journalism schools today: partnerships with the universities’ business schools.

Thornton talks about how to best acquire necessary journalism skills and why folks shouldn’t go to journalism schools, as well as some mentions of journalism school curricula that are working (Extended Note: Thornton seems to have something against Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, which is where I am currently studying and cites its curriculum as outdated – though it isn’t quite clear why because the opposing examples he provides – one being NYU’s Studio 20 – aren’t much different than the options available at Columbia’s j-school, such as the workshop Nightly News. I think graduate programs in journalism are still valuable in gaining skills, and personally for me, helpful in having M.S. credentials to hopefully teach journalism one day). Anyway, the point is something is missing at many journalism schools that should be available at all. Thornton gets this right:

Here is the rub: If you’re going to attend a journalism program — especially a graduate program — you want to be in a program that will teach you how to start your own projects and be entrepreneurial. You want a program that realizes that the (social) Web is the present and future of journalism.

One thing that schools like CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism have it right is a curriculum that includes an entrepreneurial program as well as The Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Comm at ASU and Medill’s Graduate Journalism Innovations Projects. These are just a few example. But a partnership for journalism students to work together with business school students on websites that provide engaging and quality content but at the same time experiment in creating online revenue models that work should be available at all journalism schools.

In fact, I think it should be available as a specialization track at journalism schools. Though journalism schools have been implementing entrepreneurial and innovations elements into their curricula, one class or projects on the subject is not enough to fully experience what it would take to create a successful startup. Most journalism schools have figured out the need for teaching students essential web skills, and in many cases learning how to start a website and produce content for it in various ways. However, learning how to make that website profitable is just as important.