Sep 24 2012

Help! What is the value of social media to public service journalism?

Nadja Hahn

Added value for society is generally speaking what public service journalism aims for.  But what’s the public value of a tweet? How should public service journalists use Twitter and the rest of social media to produce public value?

How do we define public value for this new media? Is is just about content? Do customer service and communication with the audience play a role?  Or simply the promotion of quality programmes?

I am a public service journalist in Austria. In our newsroom, to many, Twitter is waste of time. They ask: “What’s the value of reading journalists’ insiderish chit-chat? Why should I contribute to that?”

Ignorant as this may be, what should public service journalists say on Twitter that adds value to journalism and our relation with the audience?  Should tweets from public service journalists be any different from other journalists? Are they less free to say what they want?

Please share your thoughts. If you are a public service journalist, please tell us if and how Twitter and and maybe other social media, improve your work. Please also tell us about lessons you learnt about what doesn’t work!

Your comments will contribute to my research fellowship at POLIS on the value of social media to public service journalism. I am looking forward to reading your comments – thanks in advance!

You can contact me at

I am on Twitter as @NadjasNews

Nadja will be presenting her initial findings to a small research seminar on Thursday October 18th at 5pm – email us if you’d like to join in.


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2 Responses to Help! What is the value of social media to public service journalism?

  1. Dear Nadja,

    I had just read Steve Yelvington’s post ( about a related question when I saw Charlie Beckett’s tweet about your question. Steve’s post addresses some of your question. For the rest, I am wondering how you define ‘public service journalism.’ Is it public service journalism if a story reaches a relatively small number of people in government and industry, with little public awareness? What if a policy in government changes because of news coverage but it’s done with little notice or transparency? Is that a public service?
    You’re asking a great question and I hope to hear more about what you find!

  2. Pingback: Help What is the value of social media… « Kind of Digital Exchange

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