COM 0015 Post 4 ‘Out of the Box’

social media

One area that I have noticed where social media has had a very surprising impact is on the news business.  More and more journalists are using twitter in particular, to move a story forward or to get those involved or impacted by a story, to respond.  That response is coming in the form of twitter and Facebook and it usually involved information updates or interview requests.  News and current affairs programs are using twitter and Facebook to promo upcoming, to get viewer comments, to open up dialogues, and to use as a follow-up  once a story or item has aired.

A few weeks ago when the television program where I am currently employed,  was not covering  luggage delays by Porter Airlines, (a story which was not published in any daily papers), a viewer sent us a message on Facebook and suggested we look into the matter.  As a result we went to the Porter Airlines Facebook page and saw over 800 comments within a 24 hour period by travelers expressing outrage over delayed and lost luggage as well as delayed and cancelled passenger flights.  We immediately followed up with this story and interviewed a spokesperson from Porter Airlines about holiday travel which included information that was of particular interest to our viewers.  This is a classic example of how social media led traditional media to a story and once the interview aired on television it was posted back on the Facebook page where the initial advisory was launched. A couple of years ago this would not have occurred, however it is becoming more and more common.  Social media is being used for solicitations for news stories, contests, audience participation and in turn, stories are posted to online sites in the hopes of attracting more viewers or at the very least, more buzz about the show.

Social media is also used as a selling point when trying to attract potential investment in the product.  Sales representatives are using the companies social media activity as a way to get a client to invest with their company by putting a value on the number of followers who will be reached through investments.  This social media includes tweets, Facebook and links to the home web page.  As well more traditional media are constantly asking their viewers to tweet or respond via the media outlets homepage to questions about a particular story as a way of engaging the audience during the newscast.  And when possible, these same outlets are reading tweets if their on air broadcasts allow for this immediate viewer engagement.   The kind of viewer engagement is a direct response to the role of social media in the traditional media platform.

Journalists and presenters are being asked to tweet regularly depending on their story and on air reporting requirements.  These tweets are to both promo their story/interview and use pictures when possible.  In turn the broadcast will re-tweet this activity to broaden the reach of the original tweet.  Producers are asked to do the same and links to stories are posted on twitter, Facebook and you tube accounts to attract as many hits as possible.

I think the question now is how to continue with this trend of social media in terms of its impact on traditional news media.   Will social media have more input in terms of the kinds of stories traditional media covers and how will this role evolve during big news events such as election campaigns and natural disasters in terms of where the audience ultimately will find the most engagement and spend more of their time.  How will traditional media best respond to the potential impact social media will have on news coverage as that response may very will impact on any potential audience growth and revenue source for the traditional media outlet.

COM 0015 Blog Post 3-Professional Networking

I have been very slow in developing a professional network online, however in person, I have done very well.  Given my line of work in communications, I feel that face to face or even phone conversations have always been the best way to foster contacts and develop a network of colleagues within the industry.  I try to attend events, organized press events to keep in touch with colleagues and those press contacts that I feel will be important contacts down the road.  Often when requesting interviews with key talent, if the interview does not happen, I will try and arrange a meeting for coffee, etc so that next time I submit this request, I have a more personal connection to the talent.

Over the past eighteen months I have noticed that more people within the press relations sector want initial press contacts to be via email or by filling out the specific request via the company website.  Personally I find this trend difficult as this does not allow for any personal connections which helps to develop contacts and to get improve the success rate of getting a positive response to requests.  There are some advantages, however to the usage of social media networking.  For example a couple of years ago I joined Linked In and over the course of the last twenty four months I have used this network to find talent and to search for jobs or fields that I may be interested in.  I know that colleagues have viewed my profile so I consider this site an important tool to keep a presence professionally.

I am also trying to take a more active role on twitter.   Though I do not have many followers and I do not tweet a lot of original material, I know that it is an area I will need to work on as it will help my professional profile–  I consider my Facebook account to be personal though I do maintain professional contacts on my Facebook and my status updates are generally related to events I am covering or reflections on what has happened over the course of the week.  Again I do not update my status very frequently though I try and keep my profile on this site, up to date as well.

Over the next six -twelve months I will continue to work on my professional contacts in person by meeting with people as they come into the newsroom as well as meet others outside given how reliant my position is on these contacts.  In terms of social media, I know I will need to work on my tweets and increasing the number of tweets I send out each day, including pictures and promos for the next day.  I will also try to add some of the more fun video to my Facebook page with links to the work Facebook and Twitter accounts.  This tie in will also help me professionally.  And finally I plan to continue on with my education in person and online which will help me to continue to focus on my professional development overall.


COM 0015 BLOG POST 2: Strong and Weak Organizations



Two organizations  which I have discovered that have really impressive social media campaigns are Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.  Both of these organizations are very active on twitter, You Tube, Facebook and provide lots of information regarding their campaigns on their landing campaigns.

The Canadian Red Cross is particularly effective in terms of tweeting out pictures of their latest aide campaign which over the Christmas holiday was helping those in need affected by the ice storm.

image In addition to these images appearing on their tweets, they also appeared on their daily  blogs and video versions were posted to youtube with duplications and links on  their Facebook page as well at to their main page at: www.

Oxfam Canada has a very similar strategy in their approach to social media.   Their main page consists of an overall look at the goals of their operation as well as links to their various social media platforms including likes for Facebook and the opportunity to follow this organization on Facebook.  Their blogs and links are all interconnected including a number of video postings to youtube as well as assessments with news links that can be found on LinkedIn.  The landing page for Oxfam, like that of the Red Cross, is very easy to find:

Given how difficult it is for aide organizations to stay front and centre and receive donations while providing information, their social media campaigns are a critical component of fundraising and communicating during disasters.  The first big example of this was during the appeal for donations to help immediately after the earthquake in Haiti.  Many larger aide organizations, ie. the Red Cross,  were set up to allow twitter and facebook followers to donate money directly to their sites.  And many news organizations were following these agency twitter accounts to get updates on their developments on the ground.  It seems organizations such at the Red Cross and Oxfam discovered early on the importance of a strong social media campaign, and they are continuing to engage and connect to audience members in as many platforms that seem to have a good cross section of viewers that will participate in their activity or at least share with others what these organizations are posting.

By comparison, a relatively large organization that has much more work to do in terms of its social media strategy campaign is the Conservative Party of Canada.  Although the federal party has about 27,000 followers on Facebook, very little daily activity exists in terms of updating its followers to what is happening on a federal level on a consistent basis.  Here the party should be adding speeches and statements the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers are making in terms of funding announcements or policy statements which the party in turn could use to show how their party in power is working to improve lives of Canadians.  (Of course this may be viewed as propaganda but to the party loyal, this will help ensure party loyalty).  As well there is very little activity for the party on YouTube.  A search on You Tube for the Conservative Party of Canada consists mostly of attacks and again very little that is tied to the party in power or MP’s announcements.  There are very few tweets and not a lot that seems to engage a younger audience which is what the party should be trying to engage well before the next federal election.  (U.S. President Obama won the social media campaign for his last two presidential elections and he proved that if you can engage a younger audience through social media, you can build a strong base that can be a very difficult movement to contain or stop).  I think think the Conservative Party should use its numbers on Facebook and engage its audience with questions or encourage them to check out other platforms (ie YouTube and Facebook), to cross promote itself as well as containing ‘it’s spin”, particurlarly as we get closer to a federal election.  If the party does not do this, and other federal parties step into this arena and take the lead, the price of not enough engagement for the conservatives, may be seen on Election Day.

COM0014 Blog 7 “Personal Reflection”

This course has re-inforced concepts that I use in my professional life as a journalist. Journalists are tought the importance of listening and asking questions. Through training, emphasis is placed on telling a good story that is interesting, concise and that re-inforces the story itself in its conclusion. Journalists are taught the importance of ‘humanizing’ a story through real people, real circumstances as a way to connect the story to a larger audience.
The media business, like other businesses, is very competitive. Ratings are noted, often on a daily basis, newspaper and magazines, live and die by their subscription rates, and editors are constantly using these statistics to determine what stories sell or resonate with audiences. The audience is defined by those who are paying for or tuning into the story, the radio/television channel.
The tools of this business are determined by the medium itself, and the social media component is added depending on staffing and what the media organization determines is essential for their overall business plan.
One area of study in this course I found particularly interesting was lesson five, developing effective personal, corporate brand messaging. I think this is the hardest concept and most difficult lesson to learn. It means a lot of research and understanding of the product and using that information to put forth a good message with personality to attract an audience. I think it is a message that many people struggle to find.
In terms of what kind of stories I want to tell, the story for me are personal stories. The stories of people who have overcome obstacles and personal struggles and have managed to pull themselves together and survive. These are the stories we all can relate to, the human struggle and the fight for survival. For those willing to share their story, so I can make it personal, is what attracted me to this business many years ago.

COM 0014 BLOG POST #6 ‘My Story’

London, Paris. PEI 201

My professional life is about ‘the story.’ I have worked in the news business for over twenty five years. During most of my career I have had to convince people, including academics, politicians, advocates, victims, and those we call ‘real people’ to share their story or their point of view.  Many times I have asked people to give up hours of their day, without compensation and no assurance that their story will be given the perspective they wish.

Often when I am trying to convince potential talent to give us ‘their story’, I find I need to make a personal connection, either in terms of children or commute, to give him/her an opportunity to discuss something outside of the topic.  This provides an opportunity to let the talent know, that those of us behind the scenes filming the story, are real people as well.  It helps to smooth over possible mistrust of the media.

Last year, I found myself going one step further and really letting someone know ‘my story.’  One of the reporters in my office wanted to do a story about the most economically depressed region/county in the United States which happened to be in the southern area of West Virginia. Many people in the area whom I approached felt our organization was like all the others with the intent of doing a story about a poor economy because people in the area were uneducated.  It was extremely difficult to get anyone to talk to us.  In addition we wanted to interview the local musician who had written about the people, working in coal mines and how difficult it was to survive in this small community.  After much discussion,  this musician, Alan, told me I was like all the rest of the media, I didn’t care about his story because I came from a bit city, had all the essentials in life and could not relate to the life he lead-no plumbing, no heating, etc.  It was then that I confessed I knew his story all too well.  I told him I too had grown up poor, no indoor bathroom, carried water in the summer, no central heating, etc and that I too had been ridiculed for being a poor farmer’s daughter.  Alan listed to my story and then we started to compare notes on just how poor we each were.  We talked for so long, because we really understood each other.  (And yes, Alan did agree to an interview and even performed a song on camera).

Alan reminded me of the value in letting others know your story because it well help to learn the story of your consumer, talent, professional colleague.  What helps to motivate all of us is the willingness to make a personal connection and invest in others.  This may mean more time, effort and a willingness to share your story, but I know from experience, the rewards are much greater than the losses.

COM 0015 BLOG POST #1 Social Media Preferences


My favorite social media site for professional purposes is Twitter’s Tweetdeck. I have this site open all day at work and I really appreciate the multi-tabs which allow one to monitor various tweets from multiple sources. I have my tweets set to Canadian, US and international news along with trends. Given I work in the news business, this tool has become essential especially during breaking news as it allows you to plug in the hashtag related to this news and you can monitor a tab for all posts related to this story. I am also somewhat selective in terms of those people and sites I follow.
Twitter has changed how I get my news first thing in the morning. A year ago I would listen to NPR and read the Washington Post, now I still listen to the radio in the morning, however I first sign on to Twitter and check posts within the last hour, as well as newspaper articles attached or mentioned in a particular post. Once I have filtered through this information, I think begin going through various newspaper, television and radio websites for any additional stories or background information which I may need for my work day.
Though on a personal level, I do monitor my facebook page on a regular basis, I do not consider this an avenue for work or a place to get information that will help me professionally. For this information, I turn to LinkedIn.
linked in
I have made a lot of professional connections though this website and now I receive regular email updates in terms of recent job openings and discussions through groups, for example,, which will have relevant topics on the film and television industry which is of interest. Here I can also participate in these discussions, pose questions or learn about online forums which may be useful professionally. I have also found LinkedIn a very useful tool for staying in touch with former colleagues and for finding academics and experts who may have an opinion useful for a story which we are trying to tell.
Though I seldom send tweets, I do retweet items I find interesting. I can also use this tool if I need an opinion or suggestion for something which I am working on. As for LinkedIn, I keep my profile up to date, check to see if there are other people I can connect to, and I do look through discussions and posts which I feel will help me professionally.
I would strongly suggest becoming a member of LinkedIn,, even as a means of having another means by which future potential employers can search you, and a way to keep up to date with changing trends within your business. As for twitter, it is a quick way to dip in and out of subjects/topics/trends of interest to you.


COM 0014 BLOG POST  #5




Experienced, career driven professional who has worked in a number of countries in four different continents.  The personal brand in terms of promoting oneself, or myself, is all about bringing experience, and confidence to an organization.

I am currently working on my masters degree to broaden my communication tools and to have a better understanding of management styles in the very competitive workforce today.


Given my many years of managing a small team working in news and current affairs, I have become very adaptable working in constantly changing environments, with people working under very difficult situations and under tight deadlines.  I am very organized and I am able to juggle various demands both on a long term and short term basis.  This characteristic is very important in promoting oneself for an organization because it helps to emphasize the first selling point of being experienced.


If you are looking for someone with experience, who works well with others on projects that are deadline driven, then I am your person.  My twenty plus years working in the communications industry, particularly in news and current affairs,  has given me a unique perspective as to what tools and strategies one can use to ensure his/her message is appropriate.   My job is to use my experience, attention to detail and organizational abilities to make your organization have the best in communications.


COMOO14 BLOG #4 Case Study


     The business to consumer case study that I have chosen for this exercise is the Canadian Red Cross.  I have been following this non-governmental organization for the past few weeks for personal reasons and I have been very impressed with their use of social media and how they use various applications to engage their audience.

     Earlier this week the Canadian Red Cross put out a teaser on Facebook around 9:00am for their followers which read: “Fascinating look at the role of technology in delivering humanitarian aid and move on the digital divide.”  Below this post was a link to a you tube video.  A short time later a similar tweet with the same description and it also included a link to the same you tube video.  After a quick search I discovered the Canadian Red Cross, (CRC) maintain a blog on word press which also included a short explanation of the you tube video along with a question for readers which could be answered by going to the International Committee of the Red Cross (commonly referred to as the ICRC), website.  And as one might expect, all of this information could be found on the landing page of the Canadian Red Cross’ own website.

     A couple of weeks ago the CRC was promoting interviews with a delegate who has just returned from the middle east following a short study or the Syrian refugee crisis.  The delegate’s story and his report was featured in the Ottawa Citizen with a mention of a noon time web chat.   That same web chat was also promoted on both twitter and Facebook.  The teaser included questions that audience participants would like to see addressed in the web chat.  This was a very effective tool in getting readers to engage, provide input to an upcoming event and for the CRC to show its audience that it was listening and implementing their suggestions.

     The CRC uses various tools within social media very effectively and they have proven that their communicators know how to use these tools effectively.  I will continue to monitor the CRC for both personal reasons and to see how their social media strategy adapts to the changing communications environment.

COM0013 Blog #3 City Vegetable Gardening

vegetable gardenVegetable gardens in the city.  A growing concept as more people migrate to cities and become more concerned about what is in their food and how much that produce costs.

I grew up on a farm where a large vegetable was necessary to feed our large family.  A number of years ago after I moved into a house with a small backyard I decided to plant a small vegetable garden.  Planting a vegetable garden for many city dwellers is done for various reason.  Many people have herbs and small vegetable gardens because they want a higher quality produce selection, their produce is organic.  Other people choose city gardening because it is an inexpensive way to put vegetables and herbs on the table.  And a third group of growers are those I would classify as the environmentalists, those who have concerns about fertilizers and the environmental costs involved with transporting the produce.

Though city gardening is inexpensive,  it does require time, commitment and planning.  Not a lot of space is needed for raised beds, (as shown above), and potted plants, but to increase the output of produce, one need to research growing seasons for various vegetables as well as growing space.

Generally city vegetable growers tend to be older, (not a university crowd activity), and many have children who are out of their toddler years because of the time commitment.  Many parents will use their garden as a teaching  tool for their children.  Preparation for a vegetable garden can be time consuming, the rewards are plentiful.   There are many websites and gardening classes (again often attending by those in their 30’s and 40’s), to give the new gardener ideas on how to best plan their gardening project.

I first started gardening years ago, (and yes I was in my 30’s), because it was a part of my heritage and I wanted fresher produce for my young children.  The bonus has been the money we have saved over the years by having this fresh produce in our backyard as well as the taste.   Did I mention the personal reward for all city gardeners?  A chance to be outside, get a ‘little’ bit of exercise, and know that if you do it right, you will get physical results for your efforts.


COM 0114 Blog #2 Digital Storytelling

The most important lesson for me in this section  on “Becoming a Digital Storyteller”, is trying to find my own voice.    For me this task is also the hardest because of how it relates to my full time job. 

I presently work as a producer, writer for a daily news/political television show.  Part of my job involves writing scripts to introduce stories and to set up interviews.  The writing on the show has a particular style.  Copy that appears before a commercial break is short snappy and requires a tease to try and convince the viewer that s/he must stay tuned for another show segment.  Introductions to interviews must provide the latest relevant information while not giving away too much that the viewer turns off after a twenty second read.  And any short stories that summarize an event, has to be concise given most often the presenter only has thirty seconds for this copy read.  There is not an opportunity to allow your voice to shine, in fact if there is a voice, it is trying to imagine how the presenter themselves would likely read the intro, in their own voice.

Some of the basic tools for storytelling, such as not burying a lead, pyramid style writing, using an active and concise language, I use on a daily basis though at times I struggle to find catchy phrases because of time and interest constraints.

This lesson has really made me think about what kind of personal style I would like in my digital voice and if I were to work in another area of the communications industry, what I strengths and weaknesses I have in this area.   I think at the end of the day if I remember less is more, and if I am interested, then hopefully, I will be able to interest others.