Sky and Guardian on journalists' use of social media

Representatives from Sky and Guardian News & Media explained how they use social media in their organisations at a conference in London yesterday organised by Communicate magazine.

In a session on “the Twittering classes”, Sky News Online chief news editor Jon Gripton discussed the use of Twitter in the Sky newsroom.

He admitted that recruiting a “Twitter correspondent” had partly been for publicity, but said the role was now regarded highly in the newsroom.

Gripton described how Sky uses its profile on Twitter for purposes other than just publicising its own content. He said that it is important to communicate and respond to followers’ comments.

“Those who are taking time to put a face to a brand are doing it right,” Gripton said. “There is no excuse for a brand not to be on Twitter.”

In a separate talk on “blogs, wikis and user-generated content”, Guardian Comment is Free editor Georgina Henry said the hardest part had been training journalists to write for a web audience.

She said Comment is Free had broadened and deepened the range of views published by the Guardian and aimed to break down barriers between journalists, bloggers and commentators.

And she said that although the site had yet to run a piece from the British National Party, after the group’s European Elections success that decision was not “necessarily sustainable”.

Observer business and media editor Ruth Sutherland said that old journalism still clearly had power. She doubted the Telegraph’s scoop on MPs’ expenses would have prompted the same reaction if it had been broken online.

‘It wouldn’t have had the impact, commentary and space,’she said. ‘It wouldn’t have worked in the same way.”

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