Providence Journal Reporters Highlight Truth in Social Media & Journalism At Spring Media and Politics Cafe

Scott Oberacker

At the Spring Media and Politics Café on Monday April 3rd, Patrick Anderson and Jennifer Bogdan uncovered what it is like working as a reporter and discussed the role social media plays in print and broadcast media. When students were asked by The Providence Journal state house reporters, Bogdan and Anderson if they prefer video or print better there was a split preference in the room.

The reporters talked about some of the social media strategies that they implement into The Providence Journal social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. They mentioned that they use hashtags in their twitter feed and that they will run the twitter feed on the Providence Journal website during a big event or an election day.

They also announced how they are faced with pressure every day during their job just like other journalists are. Sometimes a viewer will post something alternative on twitter to the angle of the story they have written and they “take it with a grain of salt.”

Specifically, when they are reporting at the State House they try to only report what their names and positions are and not try to describe their ideology. They face criticism of putting a label on someone or something even if that label is correct and they advised students who are interested in journalism that it is something they must deal with and it is part of the business.

They stated that more and more people are following the journalists on social media sights such as twitter, Instagram etc. and that it is important not to have your business life and personal brand overlap. They have debates from time to time about how much personal information they should put on Twitter.

When asking Bogdan what she hoped students would gain from the conversation she had this to say: “I was hoping the students would get a better idea of the decisions that go on behind the scenes in the news industry and the competing demands on reporters’ time in the age of dominant social media. I hope the students will think about some of the things we talked about when they read a news report now.”

As far as the big takeaway from the event, Scott Oberacker, Associate Professor of English and Co-director of Media & Communications Studies Program stated, “Through an engaging presentation and lively discussion, Providence Journal reporters gave students a behind-the-scenes look at the ways in which social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook are changing the ways in which news is gathered, reported and consumed.”


Ashley Barrow