Tracy Williams (far right), president of Olmstead Williams Communications, moderated the discussion.

In a world of ever-emerging social media sites and tools, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs are still the go-to social media sources for newsrooms across the country, according to the top-tier journalists who spoke on July 19 at the panel “The ‘New’ Newsroom:  How Social Media Has Impacted the Way Newsrooms Operate.”

According to the panelists, today’s journalists monitor social media sites and blogs daily. Though they still prefer to be reached via email or phone (they’re faster), here are the main ways they’re using social media:

  • Twitter – To check headlines and stories coming in – often a company will alert the media via Twitter of an upcoming company announcement. Reporters receive Tweets from sources as well, though they said they always make sure to vet any quotes or information sent via Twitter.
  • Facebook – Reporters like it because it’s the only way to find certain people, and they can message them privately without being “friends.” They also like receiving pitches with photos through Facebook.
  • Blogs – Reporters follow blogs, a lot, mainly very specialized ones by people who are true “experts” and spend 24/7 on a subject – journalists keep a list at-the-ready of these narrowly focused blogs by key players and influencers. (How do they find these blogs? Lots of Googling topics and researching. They said if you have a great blog, let them know about it and they’ll check it out. However, if you claim to be an expert, you better be an actual expert, locally based and well-versed on the issue.)
  • LinkedIn – Not used as often for networking but good for researching biographical background on sources.

Tracy Williams, president of Olmstead Williams Communications, moderated the discussion between: Ron Grover, L.A. bureau chief for Reuters; Rachel Brown, deputy L.A. bureau chief for CNN; Anthony McCartney, entertainment writer for the L.A. bureau of the Associated Press; and Peter Pae, technology editor at the Los Angeles Times.

The panel was hosted by the Legal Marketing Association and the Business Marketing Association at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Los Angeles.