Houston Journalists Carve a Niche

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SMC Sara Phipps Car Uses Smartphone for Interview

The Social Media Correspondents (SMC)

By Ameena Rasheed, SMC

Texas Southern University’s young journalists have been carving a niche for themselves in the world of journalism coupling their reporting skills with social media. They call themselves “Social Media Correspondents.”

As Social Media Correspondents, the students use various social media platforms to report on a myriad of topics ranging from entertainment to politics. They post news leads every day via Twitter using the “#TwitterNewsChat” hashtag.

Journalist and TSU Journalism Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker developed the Social Media Correspondents team and the TwitterNewsChat hashtag and edits all content they produce.

Walker has equipped her students with the ability to proficiently use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Podbean, and several blog platforms.  Armed with laptops, digital cameras, digital voice recorders, video cameras and  smartphones, she sends her students out to cover multiple stories and events.

“We are not only telling dynamic stories, we are using innovation to tell stories and reach a global audience,” says Sandifer-Walker. “We are especially interested in telling under told stories in underserved communities.”

Chief Social Media Correspondent Kenneth Ware Jr. uses this experience as a means to be a more well-rounded  journalist.

“I have created innovative ways to tell stories on a wide variety of platforms, which has elevated my journalism skills,” says Ware.

Social Media Correspondent and Radio, Television and Film major, Samantha Vallejo agrees, noting that being part of the Social Media Correspondents team keeps her on her toes.

“The lessons I am learning are invaluable. Being an effective reporter requires journalists to always be ready for a breaking story. As a Social Media Correspondent, I am able to immediately turn the events around me into an interesting news story,” says Vallejo.

In this new age of digital journalism, the students realize that strong reporting and writing skills are no longer enough. Being multidimensional in the newsroom is no longer an option, but now a must.

Social Media Correspondent Alex Green explains.

“Learning and being familiar with social media is so important because social media is influencing all aspects of journalism,” says Green.

To keep up with the Texas Southern University Social Media Correspondents, follow them on Twitter @smcorrespondents, “Like” them on Facebook (search: Social Media Correspondents), follow them on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/smcorrespondent?feature=mhee, and check out their blog www.socialmediacorrespondents.net.



Social Media Correspondents
The Social Media Correspondents use multiple social media platforms to report on pertinent issues. The founding editor is journalist and Texas Southern University Journalism Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker @sswalker (Twitter). *We are the first team in the nation, with a professional and collegiate news group, to use multiple social media as a reporting tool. We tell stories dynamically using a myriad of social and multimedia platforms. We are especially interested in telling under told stories in underserved communities. We use mobile phones and tablets to capture video, audio, photos and live events in the communities we cover. We live tweet and have a newsfeed on Twitter at #TwitterNewsChat. We're always thinking outside of the box.

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