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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

#HurricaneSandy told through Instagram Photos

Posted on : 29-10-2012 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Instagram, Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools

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This is embedded stream of #hurricanesandy using a tool called Snapwidget, which easily enables you to embed a stream of photos from Instagram onto your website:


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

My Next Chapter: Facebook Journalism

Posted on : 14-04-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media

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This was originally posted on my Facebook Page. Also, read CNN’s coverage of my new role.

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I am honored to announce that I will be joining Facebook as Journalist Program Manager to lead the charge of growing and improving social journalism on the platform.

I am going to miss my brilliant colleagues at Mashable. In the next few weeks, I will transition out of my role as Community Manager & Social Media Strategist, where I led the growing community team and managed the strategy behind Mashable’s distributed social presence on and off site. From launching the first ever Social Media Day to working on the social integration of Follow, a new social product from Mashable, it’s been an extraordinary experience. Most of all, I’ve loved covering the social journalism space and will continue to do so in my new role, helping journalism utilize the social web to improve their reporting.

As Journalist Program Manager, I will be leading the charge to build programs that help journalists utilize Facebook in their reporting while advocating on their behalf to improve social journalism on the platform. This includes the likes of the recently launched Journalists on Facebook Page and Facebook Journalism Meetups program, as well as resources for journalism educators, but also taking insightful feedback to product on how Facebook can be improved for journalism. I will be based in Facebook’s NYC office.

Facebook’s role in journalism has grown tremendously, perhaps showcased during the recent unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, and the growth is only going to continue as new products on the platform are introduced and users become even more accustomed to engaging with content and its producers. While some have proclaimed and lamented the death of journalism, I’ve been more fascinated with how it’s evolving, especially the emergence of social journalism. And though the platform or format may change, storytelling is thriving. After all, journalism isn’t dying. It’s being reborn.

I’m excited to work with journalists to enhance how Facebook is utilized for reporting and storytelling, and share the quality journalism taking place on the platform. Our first Facebook Journalism meetup will be on April 27th at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California.

I look forward to working with you and would love to get your feedback and ideas. How are you utilizing Facebook in your reporting and storytelling? How can we help?

Facebook & Its Growing Role in Social Journalism

Posted on : 04-03-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Facebook, Social Media

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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 Rockville Central, a community news site in the Washington, D.C., area, will move all its operations and news coverage to its Facebook Page starting on March 1. This risky move by the site’s editor, Cindy Cotte Griffiths, highlights Facebook’s growing role as a platform for journalists to use for social storytelling and reporting.

When it comes to journalists using social media, Twitter has been the go-to platform for real-time reporting and reaching out to sources, largely because it’s a public platform and most of its content is accessible. But with Facebook continuing to scale and in some ways becoming more public, it offers journalists an arsenal of content types beyond 140 characters and an alternative destination to connect with new sources of information.

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.”

10 Predictions for the News Media in 2011

Posted on : 20-12-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media

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This is an excerpt from a post that I originally wrote for Mashable.com. See the full post here.

In many ways, 2010 was finally the year of mobile for news media, and especially so if you consider the iPad a mobile device. Many news organizations like The Washington Post and CNN included heavy social media integrations into their apps, opening the devices beyond news consumption.

In 2011, the focus on mobile will continue to grow with the launch of mobile- and iPad-only news products, but the greater focus for news media in 2011 will be on re-imagining its approach to the open social web. The focus will shift from searchable news to social and share-able news, as social media referrals close the gap on search traffic for more news organizations. In the coming year, news media’s focus will be affected by the personalization of news consumption and social media’s influence on journalism.


1. Leaks and Journalism: A New Kind of Media Entity


In 2010, we saw the rise of WikiLeaks through its many controversial leaks. With each leak, the organization learned and evolved its process in distributing sensitive classified information. In 2011, we’ll see several governments prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his role in disseminating classified documents and some charges will have varying successes. But even if WikiLeaks itself gets shut down, we’re going to see the rise of “leakification” in journalism, and more importantly we’ll see a number of new media entities, not just mirror sites, that will model themselves to serve whistle blowers — WikiLeaks copycats of sorts. Toward the end of this year, we already saw Openleaks, Brusselsleaks, and Tradeleaks. There will be many more, some of which will be focused on niche topics.

Just like with other media entities, there will be a new competitive market and some will distinguish themselves and rise above the rest. So how will success be measured? The scale of the leak, the organization’s ability to distribute it and its ability or inability to partner with media organizations. Perhaps some will distinguish themselves by creating better distribution platforms through their own sites by focusing on the technology and, of course, the analysis of the leaks. The entities will still rely on partnerships with established media to distribute and analyze the information, but it may very well change the relationship whistleblowers have had with media organizations until now.

Read the full post on Mashable.

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.

Excerpt: Investigative Journalism in the Age of the Social Web

Posted on : 24-11-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Tools, Trends

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This is an excerpt of my most recent feature on Mashable.com. Read it in full here.

Investigative JournalismIn a society that is more connected than ever, investigative journalists that were once shrouded in mystery are now taking advantage of their online community relationships to help scour documents and uncover potential wrongs. The tools and information now available to journalists are making the jobs of investigative outlets more efficient.

The socialization of the web is revolutionizing the traditional story format. Investigative reporters are now capturing content shared in the social space to enrich their stories, enabling tomorrow’s reporters to create contextualized social story streams that reference not only interviewed sources, but embedded tweets, Facebook postings and more. Journalists are also leveraging the vast reach of social networks in unprecedented ways. In many respects, social media is enabling watchdog journalism to prosper. Here’s how.


Distributed Reporting


On the social web, investigative journalists are tapping citizens to take part in the process by scouring documents and doing shoe-leather reporting in the community. This is advantageous because readers often know more than journalists do about a given subject, said Jay Rosen, a journalism professor at New York University.

“That was always the case, but with the tools that we have today, that knowledge can start flowing in at relatively low cost and with relatively few headaches,” Rosen said. Rosen admits that we are just starting to learn how to do this effectively, but there are certainly some great experiments being done.

Talking Points Memo Muckraker had success with this approach by having its readers help sort through thousands of documents pertaining to the investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s controversial firing of seven United States attorneys in 2006. TPM provided clear instructions to its readers to cite specific documents that included something interesting or “damning.”

Even though they had hundreds of readers contribute in the comments, it’s important to remember the often invisible factors that contribute to that success. The site’s readers had a shared background knowledge because they had been following the story as Josh Marshall and his team developed it over months of reporting. They were also motivated to show that the attorney general had done something wrong, Rosen pointed out.

A similar example on a grander scale is that of The Guardian deploying its community to help dig through 458,832 members of parliament (MP’s) expense documents. They’ve already examined roughly half of those, thanks to the 27,270 people who participated. The Guardian rewarded community participants by creating a leader board based on the quantity and quality of their contributions and also highlighting some of the great finds by its members.

Read it in full here.

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.