The Taming of the Social Space

I am a firm believer that this is the most exciting time to be a journalist despite the formidable obstacles, as I write in "Pulling NAHJ Back from the Brink".

I asked the audience of the panel I pitched and chaired, "Now a Blogger, Always a Reporter" (along with Fox News Latino chief Francisco Cortés, Sr., Media Moves' founder and editor Verónica Villafañe, and social media and Fox News Latino sports columnist María Burns Ortiz) who in the room had learned of a major news event, such as Osama bin Laden's death, through social media.  Virtually every hand shot up.

As to how we consume information, technological advances continue to rapidly reduce the gap between time and space--from when an event occurs, to when it pops up in our RSS or Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, or text messages.  The result is that we are bearing witness to an information revolution as radical to society as the printing press was for Renaissance Europe or the advent of alternative papers such as the Village Voice were for U.S. communities. Remember the saying "Knowledge is Power"?  That assumes that information is finite and can be controlled.  Now throw Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, IPads, smartphones, and the technologies to come, into the mix.

Indeed, there are significant pitfalls and the only way to harness the Wild West element of the ever-new digital space is to follow old-fashioned reporting ethics and principles, the topic of my panel.

Missed it?  Don't fret.  Here is a link to the succinct write-up "Blog Away, But Remain a Journalist" by Melissa Caskey.  She is a rising senior and journalism major at the University of Southern California and writes for Latino Digital, an NAHJ-sponsored website devoted to covering the convention.


"Blog Away, But Remain a Journalist"

Melissa Caskey, Latino Digital Reporter

Journalists who decide to create and write a blog must always maintain their professional integrity, said a panel at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Convention.

The Friday panel, “Now a Blogger, Always a Reporter,” examined what it means for reporters to shift their focus to online blogs and writing for the Web.

Veronica Villafane, editor and publisher of Media Moves, advised the audience to use Google Alerts in order to find out where their names are being used or postings are being run.  The crucial aspect of blogging is maintaining credibility and a positive reputation.

“I always make sure that I double-check my facts, that I verify my sources,” she said. “You are not only responsible for what you put [out], you are liable.”

Fox News Latino senior manager Francisco Cortes Sr. gave attendees a behind-the-scenes perspective on the Web publishing process.  With the launch of the network and site, technology has played an integral role in advancing the fairly young endeavor, he said.

Maria Burns Ortiz, a social media columnist for, said she expects social media to continue surging.

“It’s just going to keep growing, and the fact that my position at ESPN exists is a testament to that,” she said.

Viviana Hurtado, founder of The Wise Latina Club blog and a former reporter for ABC News, moderated the three-person panel.