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Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues. This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

Twitter's Impact on Journalism


The Shop Talk panelists discuss how Twitter is changing the way news is gathered and disseminated.

The starting point for the discussion is the article “How Twitter has helped the emergence of a new journalism” on the website The Conversation.

Author John Jewell of Cardiff University writes, “On average there are now 500m tweets a day. You don’t even have to tweet to be on Twitter. Some 40% of users simply use Twitter as a curated news feed of updates that reflect their passions. He adds, “’News feed’ is important because Twitter has clearly changed the way news is gathered, disseminated and consumed.”

Panelist Rich Egger believes social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook allow stories to reach a wider audience -- and very quickly.  But he said mistakes are also reaching a wider audience very quickly as reporters and others rush to be the first to Tweet information.

Panelist Jasmine Garcia said newsrooms operating on a tight budget use social media to stay on top of what’s happening. Twitter feeds are akin to tips that are phoned in to a newsroom.  But – just like a tip received via a phone call – the information needs to be verified before it is broadcast or printed.

Panelist Lisa Kernek said social media has helped create a 24-hour news cycle that puts pressure on journalists to constantly stay on top of what’s happening.  She also finds it interesting that social media makes it possible to carve markets in places a newspaper or broadcaster might not normally have an audience.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.