Archive for October, 2022

Using Twitter as a Journalist

When we first landed in the City of Angels, excitement washed over us. Seeing the city was like seeing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for the first time. We couldn’t wait to figure out trends happening in digital media newsrooms, learn how to apply methods we learned in sessions to our own student newsroom, network with professionals working in the field we aspired to leap into and of course feel like a true professional and dress in business casual. 

Our first networking opportunity came as a pleasant surprise while in the elevator with a writer from CNN. This is when we were reminded of our first networking lesson: the importance of being present on social media. 

One of the first things he asked was if we had a twitter. “Of course!” we replied — even though our online footprint being young journalists was pretty desolate — we knew it would come in handy later down the line.

Twitter acts as the mecca for news outlets and journalists and is a hub spot for prime time networking. I was fortunate enough to learn more about this platform in one of the ONA conference sessions. 

The session “Understanding and Engaging with Your Audience on Twitter” was led by a panel of Twitter’s News and Partnerships Team giving insight on how users consume news. The main topic: What it means to have “frictionless” experience when consuming news from multiple platforms and how journalists can effectively engage with their audience using the newest features. 

This presentation started off with Eric Zuckerman, Head of US News Partnerships, giving off general information on what the platform is used for in terms of News. Among the most tweeted topics in the US, 4.6 billion tweets are centered around news and from a global standpoint, it is the second most tweeted topic at 10.4 billion tweets. 

Twitter being viewed as users’ “go-to-platform” for easy news consumption comes from multiple reasons. 69% of users say that Twitter has up-to-date news, 59% say the platform has many different topics concerning news and 51% say that Twitter has a range of viewpoints about news. 

What does this tell us? That twitter is a fitting platform for outlets to turn to in order to get more direct engagement with their content and what drives users to go to this platform for their media consumption. 

In the age of social media, it’s hard to get users to move from those social platforms to the news or entertainment outlets themselves. By using twitter as a channel for accessible means to content, it expands the likelihood of newer subscribers, growth of diversity within your audience and can get more exposure within younger consumers. 

Along the same lines of discussing how twitter is used as a means of content consumption, the presentation went on to talk about what users are interested in seeing. 97% of users appreciate stories that report what happened with just facts, 81% engage with content that analyzes and contextualizes information and 64% are interested in opinion pieces that offer a point of view.

By using this information, publications can understand what type of content will engage more of their audience – hopefully increasing the amount of time spent on their feed or website. 

While all of this data on user engagement is helpful for publications, it can also be translated to help individual journalists engage with their audience.  

The general consensus when it comes to journalist’s using twitter is that users like to see commentary not only about their articles, but also about things outside their beat. Audiences like to see the more personable side to feel connected. 

To help uplift journalists’ voices and foster a more conversational tone, “twitter spaces” was unveiled along with numerous added features like “Tweet Tiles” and “Twitter Blue” – a frictionless experience to read your favorite news publications without ads for a subscription.

These new additions to twitter are still in the experimental phase and are not available for all twitter users. However, I would suggest that Twitter Blue is the future for this social media platform when it comes to news consumption and I personally cannot wait. 

I will be the first to admit that twitter had lost my interest after I fell down the rabbit hole of Instagram and Tiktok, simply because the content wasn’t as engaging, and my feed would be clustered with things I didn’t really want to see.

Tweet tiles have been created to try and mitigate that from happening by creating a more visual interface and free of things that clog up your feed – like tweets the people you follow like, or random things the algorithm pushes at you because of your interests.  

I have analyzed social media a lot during my time at the University of Portland, along with my personal use of the platfroms, and I am glad to see that Twitter is getting a revamp. In some of my other sessions, we discussed the growing problem of misinformation being spread around on these sites, and by designating a space for publications is one step closer to help combat this growing problem. 

I can’t wait to see what the future holds. 

Brie Haro is the Editor-in-chief at The Beacon and can be reached at haro23@up.edu 

Read Full Post »

From left to right: Kate Cuadrado, Brie Haro, Chiara Profenna, and Nancy Copic

Before going to the 2022 Online News Association (ONA) Conference, I was a nervous wreck about graduation. Growing up knowing I wanted to pursue a career in journalism, I was met with a lot of comments like “Are you sure that’s what you want to do?” or “Why bother? It’s a dying field.” But throughout the years, I’ve been stubborn and set on my path to help show the important role journalism has and the impact it can have on society. 

As a senior communications major, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of how the media industry works – both with journalism and social media – but it’s hard to figure out where I want to take my areas of expertise when my own school doesn’t have a journalism program. 

I’m still clueless as to what I want to do in the field of journalism after I graduate, but after this trip to Los Angeles – with the news and managing editor, Kate Cuadrado, and the diversity, equity and inclusion editor, Chiara Profenna – I realized how many avenues and opportunities are really out there. 

Broadcast Journalism

Broadcast journalism has never crossed my mind, until we got a behind the scenes look at ESPN’s “NBA Today”. The host, Malika Andrews, was the former 2016 editor of The Beacon and was kind enough to give us a tour of the studio and a seat in the room where it all happens. 

What peaked my interest the most was seeing how the control room operates and acts like the glue that brings the whole show together. In a dark room filled with computer screens, producers and editors were talking with one another putting together graphics, calling out camera shots, counting down to commercial breaks, and more. 


This past Friday we were able to visit former Beaconite @Malika Andrews !! We learned so much about broadcast journalism and can’t wait to see what we can apply to our newsroom. Thank you @Richard Jefferson for the warm welcome and thank you @ESPN as well as the production team for letting us in your studios. Very grateful! #nbatoday #malikaandrews #espn #studentjournalism video by @brie :))

♬ NBA on ESPN Theme Song – Instrumental King

Working in the control room reminds me of every space themed movie seeing the operators tuned in and focused waiting for a rocket to launch, hoping that nothing crashes or explodes. Luckily all the producers exclaimed that they all communicate pretty well together and that it feels more like working with your friends rather than just your co-workers which helps create a healthy and lively work environment. 

Most of them have been working on the show since it started in October of 2021 and have gotten to know how they all work. Producing a show is definitely on my radar now, and who knows, maybe I’ll become the next Becky Fuller from “Morning Glory”. 

Social Media Editing

When at the “Messaging News” table talk event at the conference, I couldn’t help but feel like it was missing a major consumer market, young adults and teens. What I mean by this is that we were looking at ways to incorporate using SMS messaging to help boost engagement with audiences. 

Don’t get me wrong, this can be useful in some instances when wanting to figure out if someone wants to renew their subscription or by opting in to receive SMS text messages about relevant articles, they are easily dismissable and hardly grab someone’s attention unless it’s urgent. 

We’re living in a world where digital natives are used to easily accessible information and when it becomes “too many clicks” it becomes too much work for the reward. With people experiencing information overload 24/7 on social media apps, they prefer all of the information in one designated space. 

I had great conversations with Matt Grimson, platforms director at NBC, and Michelle Kim, social media editor at the Wallstreet Journal, on what this means when engaging younger audiences and creating a seamless online presence in multiple social media platforms. 

The basis of our conversation: Learning how to utilize the interface of the apps instead of asserting your publication and just following the trends.

With my role as community engagement editor at The Beacon last year, I was able to learn skills applicable to the conference and realized that it might be something I’m interested in doing in the future. 

Harnessing the power of social media for a publication, seems like it encapsulates what I want to do in this industry, and I might just have to explore that.  

Internships and Fellowships

One thing that always seemed daunting was finding where to work after I graduated. With the help of my advisor, Nancy Copic, and Online News Association mentor, Rebecca Harrington, I realized it’s not as daunting as it seems. I just need to get the mental block out of the way and start applying.

Harrington worked her way up the Insider ladder for seven years and started as one of their interns before she became the executive editor for Insider News. She started on Tech Insider’s science section as a reporter and has an expansive reporting repertoire as well as having experience helping the editor-in-chief and managing multiple aspects in the newsroom.

She encouraged me to apply to all the things I’m interested in and see where it takes me from there, but the first step is networking. 

It can be intimidating to be in a room full of people who have your dream job, but Harrington advised us to just say hi. After the first couple of groups, it came like second nature and all I had to do was put my reporter cap on and ask questions. 

Chances are they are happy to be able to talk about their job to someone who appreciates their work and wants to form genuine connections. Networking shouldn’t just be about looking for opportunities, but about ways in which you can learn from someone and their experience. 

Brie Haro is the Editor-in-Chief for The Beacon and can be reached at haro23@up.edu 

Read Full Post »

Reframing networking: My time at ONA 2022

Going into journalism as an English major makes me one of those journalists that is most focused on writing and less on getting my writing out there. But, being at this conference has forced me to look deeply into the world of networking, and learn just how big of an element to my career success in my desired field that it is. 

We landed in Los Angeles, my kind-of-hometown, on a Wednesday evening for the Online News Association conference and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But, in the elevator from our hotel room to the lobby for dinner myself and the two editors I went with (Hi Brie and Chiara!) and chatted with a man in the elevator who we all exchanged Twitter handles with. Upon receiving his follow notification on my phone, I realized this was a writer with CNN, and that I had just had my first experience with networking. 

(From left to right): Chiara Profenna, The Beacon’s DEI Editor, Brienna Haro, The Beacon’s Editor in Chief, and me, Kate Cuadrado, The Beacon’s News and Managing Editor.

Before this conference, networking, to me, was just a funny word for “talking to people so you can use them later on,” and I hated it. As much as I enjoyed making connections and talking to people with my dream jobs about how they got there and getting poached by a few of my favorite publications, I felt a little dirty seeking out and talking to and exchanging socials with these people who I am basically using to level myself up in the journalism world. But that’s what you’re supposed to do, that’s what they keep telling you to do.

But, as I continued on throughout the conference and tried to put those negative feelings aside, I began to see networking in a different way. I had plenty of conversations with people throughout the conference that were just that, conversations. I was able to meet some fellow students from different universities across the country and it was nice to just talk to fellow student journalists knowing we can’t “level” each other up, we’re just making friends. So, maybe the big scary and dirty word “networking” is really just like any form of communication, you communicate with others and get something, good or bad I guess, out of that. The other thing is, networking, at least in my examples from the past few days, is equally reciprocal. As a student, a lot of more substantial publications are looking to hire younger employees, they want to help students as much as they can because they don’t see us as a threat and can relate to what it was like to be a young journalist trying to “make it.” Even at the conference there were multiple different sessions on how best to use Tiktok and Twitter and how to capture the Gen Z audience. I even had a broadcaster for ABC7 News come up to me and ask about how best to engage and communicate with young people in my generation. 

What I learned from the ONA conference, and my reflection on it since then, was that networking is really not as daunting or dirty as it might sound, it’s just another word for communication. And these relationships, these “networks,” aren’t manipulative or devious, they’re just connections between people in the same field whose passions for that very craft align in a really cool way.

Read Full Post »

Going through The Beacon motions for a year has taught me a lot about writing in AP style — how to hook readers with compelling ledes, write less academically and whatever a nut graph is (I do know, I promise). However, I haven’t learned much about myself besides the overarching reality that I “Eat. Sleep. Journalism.”

During ONA, I learned so much about the professional world of journalism, but the biggest takeaway at the end of the conference was understanding more about my professional aspirations.

Having an answer to the question ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ is a nice touch to my senior-in-college status. Then again, it might be a wave of ONA inspiration that I’m riding.

Regardless, I feel passionate about something and that’s better than nothing.

The highlight of the event (ask anyone), was the Diversity Mentorship Breakfast. This event consisted of pre-matched mentors and mentees chatting about life together.

My mentor, Amy, and I after the Diversity Mentorship Breakfast at ONA.

I got matched with an executive editor at a tech publication. I hadn’t thought about what type of writing I wanted to do until then. Surprisingly, my computer science minor wasn’t currently the biggest threat to my well-being and I came to the decision that tech writing was pretty cool.

Knowing that there was something I was interested in, rather than something I thought I was good at, flicked a switch in my mind.

For student journalists who are curious, it’s so important to meet people and investigate their jobs. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life when I “hopped off the plane at LAX,” but now my vision is slightly less blurry.

Read Full Post »

One of the most important skills I learned at ONA was how to network. I’m no networking expert, but I did learn some tips that can make a big difference in whether I create successful connections or not.

Journalism is a field that revolves around networking. And while job prospects aren’t overflowing with opportunity, it’s crucial to do what’s in my power to better the chances of employment. 

Since networking isn’t easy for an introvert, I had to work to make it one of my strengths at the ONA conference.

Photographic Evidence of Brie, Kate, and I networking.
Media Credit: Nancy Copic (supervisor extraordinaire)

Here are the steps I used to network successfully at ONA:

  1. Summon your alter-ego 

Taking a step out of your body, and physically getting out of your head, is so important. Pretend you’re someone else — someone who isn’t shy. 

  1. Approach singular individuals

People on the outskirts of an event are some of the easiest connections to make. Approaching a group is more of a challenge, so starting slow with one person is less daunting. 

  1. Be curious and ask questions

People love to talk about themselves. Ask about their job, where they work, what kind of journalist they are, etc. Listen and ask questions about their responses. Learn about what they do and decide if it’s something you could see yourself doing. 

  1. Connect with them

Once your thrilling conversation has come to an end, ask for their socials: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or whatever it may be — have a way of contacting them. You can even whip up some simple business cards if you’re feeling professional.

  1. Congratulations, you’ve networked  

You now have a connection in a new company — don’t forget about it. Use those weak ties to your advantage. In a lot of cases, having someone on the inside can make a big difference in whether you land a job or not.

After ONA, I felt more confident about my networking abilities and I can only hope the connections I made will flourish over time and lead to more exciting opportunities in the future.

Read Full Post »