Jim Trotter, journalist for Sports Illustrated, 

Jim Trotter (Photo courtesy of SI.com)

has plenty of experience working with social media. Here he discusses the impact of such sites as Twitter on the world of reporting, and the positives and negatives inherent to social networking.

Q. How has social media changed journalism?

A. Tremendously; and the example I’ll give you is what’s going on in the NFL right now with these labor negotiations and most of the news is coming out on social media, on twitter, because there’s such a sense of urgency to get the news out there. One of the [ways] social media has changed news is because in some ways it has eliminated the middleman, so for instance in sports journalism, players can reach fans without using the media.

Q. Have you found that the inclusion of social media in the journalism world has been positive or negative?

A. What if I said both? It’s great that players have more interaction with fans, but at the same time, there’s such a rush by the media to get things out that I’m not sure stories are vetted as well as they normally would be.

Q.Do you find that social media has become a prominent part of your career?

A. Absolutely. At times I spend almost as much time on twitter as I do any other website.

Q. Do you think social media will lead to increased trust of journalists due to its transparency?

A. No. I think it could lead to a greater mistrust because…journalists tend to put their opinions and their viewpoints on Twitter and facebook, and so immediately people think that you have biases [by] how you cover certain things.

 Q. Is there any way that that trust can be repaired, while social networking is still in the mix?

A. The only way you can address it, in my opinion, is if you use Twitter and Facebook and these sites strictly to post stories, and you remove all opinion, any of your personal background…all those sorts of things that people can use…to say you have biases.

 Q. Do you think you would use Twitter and other social media as much if journalism had remained more conventional?

A. I think you almost have to now…its a news source now. You almost have to; you can’t ignore it.

Q. How would journalism be affected if only sports players, and not journalists, used social networking?

A. It affects your job because you have to monitor what players say. Even if you don’t use Twitter, you have to be aware of it, you have to monitor it, if people you are covering are using it.


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