This fascinating fusion

What journalism adds to the vitality of social media is the practice and principle of securing the credibility and accuracy of information

MULTIMEDIA. Purple S. Romero is Rappler's multimedia reporter covering the Supreme Court, among others.

MANILA, Philippines – It’s a Friday night. Let’s hang-out.

I got this invitation on February 17 from two Caucasian guys whom I had talked to only twice. I hardly know them; they hardly know me. But I said yes.

Offhand, it would be understandable if people viewed this decision as ill-advised. But trust me, this is not some after-school special. This is but one of the many ways on how the online phenomenon has changed the universe of interactions. 

I was asked to “hang-out” online by people from Future Challenges, an international network of netizens and social media enthusiasts. This was so that I could share, during the Social Media Week on February 17, with students from the University of Hamburg how social media has become a news-gathering tool. 

The forum was slated at 2 pm in Hamburg (around 9 pm in Manila). Connected through Google Plus, I shared with the audience, more than 10,000 miles away, the story of how Filipinos used Twitter to protest a plan to cut trees in Baguio for a mall expansion project.

Filipinos in Baguio used an online social networking service to mobilize others to stand up and voice their opposition to the plan. Rappler picked this up and made this into a news story.

Online networking tools enable not just Rappler, but also other news organizations, to capture issues that affect other parts of the country. Local problems, thanks to social media, are no longer just isolated concerns. They are pieces in the overall social and political puzzle that define the nation’s growth.

And isn’t nation-building the business of journalism?  

One click

I was asked during the forum why social media is important and effective. My answer was simple — it’s a platform that any Juan or anyone could use. You and I can say that we give a damn about something, about anything, with just a click.

But what journalism adds to the vitality of social media is the practice and principle of securing the credibility and accuracy of information. Gatekeeping measures that have been used in editing traditional news reports are also applied to stories that are sourced through social media networks.

This amalgamation of strengths could make news reporting more comprehensive, inclusive and vibrant. 

Take it from someone who’s both a journalist and a simple social media user. Wanna hang out? – Rappler.com

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