- April 2, 2010
- 12:21 pm
- John Slania
Old dog learns new tricks
By John Slania
I’m an old school journalism professor.
I insist that my students conduct interviews either face-to-face or by telephone.
A voice conversation allows for much richer interviews, as the questions and answers are spontaneous and usually more enlightening.
But recently, one of my students used the new social media tools to score a scoop.
In my Reporting and Writing class, we’ve developed a news Web site called, Loyola Student Dispatch. It’s designed to cover breaking news on Loyola’s four campuses and their surrounding neighborhoods.
But the recent earthquake in Chile presented one student, Ashlee Hindo, with a new challenge.
Ashlee had a hunch that some Loyola students were studying abroad in Chile, and used the student directory to come up with six names. She called the International Studies department, but for confidentially reasons, it declined to confirm the six names.
So Ashlee turned to Facebook, where she found four of the students, and began communicating with them. Using the social network, she was eventually able to confirm all six names, and determine that they were all safe.
Next, Ashlee used email to request interviews. She was quickly able to connect with three students, conduct email interviews, and post a story to Loyola Student Dispatch. You can read her story here: Six Loyola students survive Chile earthquake.
Ashlee not only used social media to get a scoop, she taught an old school journalist some new tricks.
That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to insist that my students conduct face-to-face or phone interviews. But I will, in the future, be more open to new technology and how it can be used to help gather information for a news story.