Twitter and Journalism

It’s more than apparent that social media has changed the playing field when it comes to reporting events. News gets out instantly all over the world. News is constantly flowing and keeping people informed. There have been so many discussions of pros and cons of this kind of social media news system. It’s not hard to get lost in the shuffle of the noise of a 24/7 news cycle and journalist seem to have taken an especially hard hit. Just writing about the basics of a story isn’t enough anymore. Kerry Lauman, the editor-in-chief of Salon magazine has said that, “…Twitter has raised the bar, not only for his publication and election coverage, but for all journalists and all news outlets. The mantra Lauman operates by now: “Be faster than anyone better than you, and better than anyone faster than you,” (Is Twitter Helping or Harming Politcal Journalism?). Social media is forcing journalists to, “…become more witty, critical and generally more interesting in their writing, to compensate for readers who had already consumed the information via social [media],” (Is Twitter Helping or Harming Politcal Journalism?).

            Some argue that twitter is helpful to journalism because it can allow users to search for sources on breaking news and “…gather community quotes,” (10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists). Twitter can also give journalists story ideas because it allows the “community conversation” to be heard. If there are a lot of tweets on one topic this can give journalists a “…heads-up that something is becoming a hot topic [they] should cover,” (10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists). Trending topics can be the best place to search for your next big story and allow a journalist to find sources amongst the users talking about a trending topic.


Twitter can also allow for journalists to respond to criticism and questions about stories they have written which can create a better sense of audience engagement and community.

            So is it really that twitter is harming journalists or is it that twitter is forcing journalists to work harder to engage and keep readers? In PR we will sometimes have to cover stories on companies or individuals like political candidates that we may work for. How can we utilize twitter for our own PR writing, which can, at times, include writing feature stories?



Buttry, S. (n.d.). 10 ways twitter is valuable to journalists. The Buttry Diary. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from

Prakash, N. (n.d.). Is Twitter helping or harming political journalism?. Mashable. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from



Analytics and the Business of Blogging


In my time in college I have had it ingrained in my brain over and over again that content is king in public relations and advertising. If your content isn’t appealing then your audience won’t read your brochure or stay on your website. Thanks to tools now available like Google Analytics, content management is becoming easier than ever. Google analytics can even be installed on many blogging sites including WordPress and blogger. After reading chapter 11 in Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals, “The Business of Blogging,” it helped me realize just how useful Analytics could really be in order to have a successful blog for yourself and for a business.

For those who don’t know what Google Analytics is, in short, it’s a free tool for tracking site statistics but most users never get, “…more than just a pretty interface with interesting graphs,” (50 Resources for getting the most out of Google Analytics) out of Analytics because it can be a bit complicated to fully utilize and understand. Thankfully there are blogs like Kissmetrics who have compiled a list of articles and how-to guides for Analytics beginners all the way through those ready to try new and advanced features.

A lot of what was discussed in chapter 11 of Share This can be utilized even more effectively when using tools like Analytics. For example, the search engine optimization (SEO) of a particular site can be studied under analytics. With Analytics it is possible to view the, “…top referring search terms that drove Web traffic to your site,” (How to use Analytics to Create Killer Content). Once those keywords have been discovered, other tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can be used to, “…identify related keywords, as well as highlight High Search/Low Competition keywords,” (How to use Analytics to Create Killer Content). High Search/Low Competition keywords allow an opportunity for a specific site or blog post to place highly among those search terms. In essences, it is terms that are searched frequently but don’t wield a lot of competitive results.

Google Analytics allows users to keep the data it produces as simple or as in-depth as they desire making it one of the ultimate tools for tracking your blog or website and understanding how to utilize that data in order to create better audience engagement and more website traffic.


Brown, D. (n.d.). How To Use Google Analytics To Create Killer Content  | OPEN Forum. OPEN Forum  Site Wide Activity RSS. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from

CIPR. (2013). Share This Too: More social media solutions for PR professionalsCIPR.. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Kissmetrics. (n.d.). 50 Resources for Getting the Most Out of Google Analytics. Kissmetrics. Retrieved October 28, 2013, from

LinkedIn Tips: W.I.I.F.M.


What’s in it for me? (WIIFM) may be the single most important question for PR professionals. In order to engage any audience we may be trying to reach we have to show them what exactly is in it for them. So what about networking sites? We are their audiences. As professionals, LinkedIn is targeting us. But what are the real benefits, why do we use it, and how can we utilize this resource most effectively? 

Lets start with the benefits. According to Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals by CIPR, “LinkedIn sells itself as a platform to connect/reconnect, boost your career and find answers; simple really – just an extension of our offline networks,” (p. 79). LinkedIn allows users to have a profile with a custom URL that is set-up to appear higher in web searches. If you google yourself, chances are your LinkedIn profile will appear near the top of the results, at least that’s how it’s designed to work. If it’s easy to find your professional profile on the internet, employers can find out all they need to know with a few clicks and keystrokes. Being easily found puts you at an advantage over those who aren’t. I would consider that a major benefit. LinkedIn is also the largest professional networking  site. The benefit of this is that LinkedIn allows business professionals to be a part of and connect with a plethora of niche groups based on, “…school, university, employer, shared skills, professional bodies, shared interests, local business networks and so on,” (CIPR, p.81). It a place for you to create a professional presence, connect with others like you, showcase personal achievements, participate in discussions, and manage a personal professional brand online.

Why do we use LinkedIn? If the benefits listed above aren’t enough of a reason to use LinkedIn then consider that, “…75% of US companies will always or sometimes check out a prospective employee’s online profile,” (CIPR, p. 81). Everyone leaves a footprint on the internet. What we post stays with us no matter what. LinkedIn allows us an easy way to prevent the best sides of ourselves in the most professional manner, not to mention it’s probably the fastest way to connect with and get your resume to potential employers. 

How can we utilize this resource most effectively? 

1. Use a professional headshot! I cannot emphasize this enough. This headshot may be the first image a potential employer will see of you. Do you really want your future boss to see a low quality webcam photo with your messy room in the background or a photo of you at a party over a clean and professional headshot that presents you in the best way possible? I didn’t think so. A bad headshot can deter a potential employer from even looking at the rest of your profile despite what skills you may have listed below. With a bad photo they may not even get to the important parts.

2. Check for spelling and grammatical errors! Writing is an essential part of public relations. We have to be great speakers and great writers. If there are spelling and grammatical errors on your profile it will be a major turn-off to potential employers (Fee, What Every College Student…). You can’t claim to have writing skills on your profile if it is riddled with errors.

3. Join discussions in LinkedIn groups. Don’t simply link to relevant content. Make sure to also, “…ask questions or pose a discussion topic,” (Gerber, 9 Pro Tips for…). Being engaged and active in groups will show an interest and that you care. Not to mention you can learn a lot from others who participate in discussions. 

4. “Update your status on LinkedIn rather than Facebook,” (Gerber, 9 Pro Tips for…). LinkedIn isn’t just a resume site. It is a networking site. It is meant to connect us with others but in order to connect we must interact. Users “…receive higher quality visitors to [their] website[s] from a status update on LinkedIn than from other social networks…” because the audience of users is different. You are reaching a different group of people through LinkedIn. You are reaching professionals with an interest in your field. Utilize the social networking aspects of LinkedIn as often as you can in order to reach other professionals.



CIPR. Share this: the social media handbook for PR professionals. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.

Fee, Jess. “What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2013. <;.

Gerber, Scott. “9 Pro Tips for Entrepreneurs on LinkedIn.” Mashable. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Oct. 2013. <;.



Politically incorrect pasta: Barilla CEO’s comments spark PR diaster


Last week during an interview for an Italian radio station Barilla CEO Guido Barilla made anti-gay comments. His words have turned into what can only be called a PR disaster. ” ‘I would never make a spot with a homosexual family,” Guido Barilla said on the Italy radio programLa Zanzara (The Mosquito), according to Italian news agency ANSA. “Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role,’ ” (McCoy, USA Today). He was also quoted as saying that, “As a father of multiple children, I believe it’s very hard to raise kids in a same-sex couple,”(McCoy, USA Today) and, “…[anyone who disagrees could go] eat another brand of pasta,” (Zimmerman, There have been outraged reactions around the world and many people are urging friends and family boycott Barilla products. On their Facebook page the following post was made:

“At Barilla, we consider it our mission to treat our consumers and partners as our neighbors – with love and respect – and to deliver the very best products possible. We take this responsibility seriously and consider it a core part of who we are as a family-owned company. While we can’t undo recent remarks, we can apologize. To all of our friends, family, employees, and partners that we have hurt or offended, we are deeply sorry.”

On twitter, Barilla made the following tweet:

            “@BarillaUS: While we cannot undo words that have been said, we can apologize. To all of those that we have hurt or offended,                  we are deeply sorry.”
Other than those two posts and a video apology there hasn’t been any social media activity by Barilla as of September 26th. I find this odd. I would think that Barilla would be trying to reach out more and reform that sense of community after essentially alienating an entire portion of their consumers. As I said in my last post about social media etiquette, one of the most important rules when it comes to social media is to be transparent, helpful and useful online. There are so many responses coming in from consumers over this controversy. There is no way they could ever answer every one but perhaps if they responded to major groups like GLAAD via social media it would show a bit more interest, concern and sincerity about the issue. So far Barilla seems to be lacking any real plan to reconnect with lost consumers. As a PR professional do you think that social media could be utilized in a way to quell the problems the CEO’s statements caused? What would you do during this situation if you worked for Barilla?