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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

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.

New to Twitter? Here Are 12 Tips From the Community

Posted on : 01-02-2011 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Online Journalism, Social Media, Twitter

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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 platform.

On Saturday, just before the start of my Social Media Skill for Journalists class began, I tweeted asking my followers what advice they would give to new Twitter users. After getting some great responses, I’ve highlighted some of the best answers below.

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.

Top 20 Sites to Improve Your Twitter Experience

Posted on : 25-07-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media, Twitter

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This is an excerpt that originally appeared on Mashable.com. Read the full post on Mashable.

“140-character status updates to a network of followers.” That makes Twitter sound simple. But in fact, the social information platform has grown to be much more complex than its 140 character-limit suggests. The site not only connects people, but has also become an intricate information resource for everything from news to shopping deals.

Yet in many ways, the site’s actual functionality hasn’t exactly kept up with user interactions. Twitter’s interface has remained simple, which is why a lot of tweets take place through third-party sites and applications that make the experience more useful.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 20 third-party websites for making your Twitter experience more useful and easier to manage. Although this does not include the many desktop or mobile applications that are available for Twitter, we hope that it will make your browsing experience more enjoyable as you dive into the Twittersphere. We’d love to hear what’s missing from this list, including sites that you find useful in the comments.


Web Applications: HootSuite and Brizzly


With its recent update and HTML5 support, social media dashboard HootSuite has become one of the most useful Twitter web applications not only for individual users, but teams managing several accounts. In some ways, HootSuite has the look and feel of TweetDeck with the big differentiator of it being a web-based application, not requiring any downloads.

HootSuite enables you to update to multiple accounts at once, and supports Twitter, Facebook profiles and pages, LinkedIn, Ping.fm, WordPress, MySpace and Foursquare. Similar to TweetDeck, these features make the application useful for maintaining your overall social presence. Moreover, you can allow other users to jointly update an account, integrate Google Analytics for your stats and schedule tweets and updates ahead of time.

The HTML5 interface enables you to easily include an image or file with your update by simply dragging it from the desktop into the message box, which will automatically upload the file with an “Ow.ly” shortener for sharing. The fast loading of the dashboard is perhaps one of the most notable improvements, making the site more usable for users who manage dozens of accounts. If you don’t like Hootsuite, you should also check out Seesmic, which has a lot of similar features, but a different interface.

This is is an excerpt from an a piece that I wrote originally for Mashable.com. View the full list here.

Brizzly has a different functionality from Hootsuite, but may be more appealing because of its simple interface. Brizzly is specifically focused on Twitter and no other networks, which makes the experience somewhat less distracting. It also includes subtle, but worthy features like automatically expanded URLs, which shows you exactly where you are going if you click, and displays replies and direct messages in a threaded form, making it easier to follow the conversation.

Read the full post on Mashable.com

My next chapter: Joining Mashable

Posted on : 13-05-2010 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Social Media

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Today was my last day working at The New York Times, and in a little over a week I will start a new job as the Community Manager at Mashable.com. I am going to miss the brilliant folks I have gotten to work with at the Times, but am quite excited and honored to be joining the Mashable team.

At Mashable, I’ll be working directly with the CEO Pete Cashmore, Editor-in-Chief Adam Ostrow, and Managing Editor Sharon Feder, and will be responsible for engaging readers on-site and off, creating programs and strategies for making outreach more effective, cultivating an environment for a strong community, identifying emerging social platforms to build a presence on, and of course, writing.

I am excited about what’s taking place at Mashable, which recently celebrated its new headquarters in NYC (come visit me in Union Square) and is also partnering with my soon-to-be alma mater Columbia University Journalism School on a paid online video fellowship for j-school students that will begin this summer.

I’ll still continue to write on this blog every so often, but I hope you will continue to follow along as I produce content for Mashable.

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.