WBZ has some interesting stuff going on

January 28, 2010

Stephanie Miller, the director digital of media for WBZ, stopped by our class today and kindly shared her thoughts on the future of how social media will be integrated into journalism and where the future of digital media lie.

She mostly told us a lot about WBZ’s Curiosity Campaign, which can be found at their website declareyourcuriosity.com.

The idea behind it, is, essentially, for WBZ to find out from its audience what, in their every day lives, they are concerned with and passionate about. Hopefully, by gathering enough curiosities, WBZ can get an idea of what really drives its viewership.

The project has already gleaned enough response to generate dozens and dozens of stories WBZ might not otherwise have investigated and which have proven to be of direct interest to the community WBZ is serving. Topics as diverse as families being “curious” about the economy to the Red Sox virtual waiting room to their most recent one about drooping power lines have been explored by WBZ at the urging of its audience.

Miller spoke at length about this kind of direct involvement with the community and why she, and WBZ, feel it’s of such value both now and, more importantly, going forward:

One of the biggest opportunities that organizations have with tapping into communities is understanding what the community wants. Journalists are good at storytelling and local news needs to be about reflecting the concerns and moods of the community.

She told us about the WBZ blogs and its twitter feed, which are both prominent methods of continuing that kind of community involvement and engagement. Their latest tweet asked its 4,700+ followers to interact with WBZ during the State of the Union address.

Miller stressed that, “the future of media is in this community engagement.”

She also noted that, as journalists, our “product is your storytelling and journalism.” It’s weird to think of journalism as a product, but in this brave new technological web, content is inevitably going to be commoditized. We, as journalists, have to develop a brand that audiences – whether they be consuming our information through television, the web in its various forms, or (don’t laugh) print (okay, laugh) – trust and turn to.

Said Miller:

We ask them to tell us what they care about – what’s an issue, a concern, a passion? What pisses you off? What scares you and drives you crazy? What is affecting your life?

In the future of journalism, the journalist is going to have to be, as best he or she can, everywhere all the time. Through Twitter. Through Facebook. Through television and a website and whatever crazy, inconceivable technological medium that is sure to be just around the corner.

And they’re going to have to have that kind of direct connection with the community so that it’s their voice being heard.

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One Response to “WBZ has some interesting stuff going on”

  1. kordmiller Says:

    Thanks for listening. Don’t get too freaked out about journalism as a product… it always has been.
    Stephanie Miller


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