Journalism has changed in extraordinary ways over the past couple of years. The shift from print to digital journalism is one of the adjustments that reporters have had to get used to. However, even with the challenges that the digital world has brought, it has given journalists a fascinating method to interact with their audiences.
Through tweets, posts, comments, lives, etc., the internet has handed journalists a direct way to communicate with their followers. Audience members are able to give their feedback in a timely and efficient fashion, and this allows journalists to deliver what it is that their followers truly want. In Anthony Adornato’s “Mobile and Social Media Journalism,” Trish LaMonte states that her team receives valuable information from those who comment, whether it be a different approach to a crime or even a new person to interview. The audience can give journalists tips and critical material needed for a story. Furthermore, a journalist can construct a positive relationship with their followers.
Brandi Smith from KHOU 11 is one journalist that interacts with her followers on a daily basis. On most days, Smith posts at least once on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. When her audience comments, Smith is not afraid to engage with them, whether it be a simple “like” or a thoughtful reply back. She also asks personal questions to her audience. When seeking positivity, Smith’s post accumulated 54 replies and 122 likes. In addition, the information section on her Facebook page provides her email, just in case anyone has any story ideas that they would like to see from her. These strategies allow Smith to get on an intimate level with her followers while also giving them a chance to submit their input.
However, Smith also sets boundaries with her followers. Pinned on her Twitter and Facebook page is a post that asks for her audience members to be respectful when interacting with her. The reason being that she does not want to waste her energy on negativity. This is a clear objective that all journalists should try to establish, as direct communication can greatly affect a reporter’s mental health.
Journalists must optimize engagement with audience members. A reporter that denies communication with their audience is missing out on beneficial suggestions and relevant knowledge. Journalists should also let their followers know what is and what is not tolerated on their accounts. To have this relationship with your audience is to be a successful journalist.