Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Read all about it…on WSJ Social

By: Angela Raleigh, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

The world of social media continues to evolve and this time the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) launched “WSJ Social.” The app allows users to access WSJ content within a platform on Facebook without requiring users to visit the newspaper's website.

It makes sense. With an increasing number of people spending more time on social networking sites, they have less time to spend on news websites. And with social networks being a primary source for information, why not have news available where people are already obtaining a good amount of information.

You may be asking yourself, how is this any different than an online newspaper? Well, after granting the app permission to access your Facebook information, you have the ability to read and subscribe to streams of content. The app helps create news that is personalized to each user and provides an easy way to read and share news with friends.

The downside is that with all new things there are limitations. Users of “WSJ Social” are not able to search for specific news stories. Instead you can read stories that are featured on the pages you’ve subscribed to or if someone you’ve subscribed to “likes” a story, it will appear on your page. So if you are looking for a specific news story, you might have more luck going directly to the newspaper’s website. Ultimately this could help increase WSJ website traffic, which I am sure was a thought of the team who created the platform.

It’s not surprising that newspapers are starting to extend their services and offer news via social networks to increase engagement with subscribers. “WSJ Social” is just another easy way to share and get news from others. Do you think this platform will be a success? Will you be one to try out “WSJ Social”? Thoughts or reactions about the new news platform?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Should news be convenient?

By: Scott Stein, Senior Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.
A new survey of high school students recently caught my attention. The survey by the Knight Foundation found that more and more high school age kids are getting their news from social networking. In fact, 56 percent indicate they look to social networks as a daily source of news and information.

If you’ve spent any amount of time around any high school students, that survey finding is probably not a surprise. Most kids seem to be glued to their smartphones or computers these days.

But a few of the other survey results were what really caught my eye.

While more than half of the students said they were daily users of social media for news and information, it wasn’t the only source that they cited.
  • 77 percent say they watch TV for news at least once a day
  • 54 percent report they read an article online at least once a day 
  • 48 percent watch video news online at least once a day
  • 42 percent say they read an article in print at least once a day
Again, not a real surprise. Few people remain as adamant as I am about reading a printed newspaper on a daily basis.
What I really found interesting is the way the students felt about the truthfulness of the news sources. While only 42 percent said they read an article in print at least once a day, 88 percent of the respondents felt that newspapers were very or somewhat truthful. Television news came in next with 78 percent believing TV was very or somewhat truthful.
When it comes to social networks, just 34 percent of the high schoolers felt they were very or somewhat truthful. Which begs the question…If you’re skeptical about the truthfulness of the news and information on social networks, why are more kids seeking news from that source?

Like so many things today, the answer is probably convenience. If you’re already hooked up to the social media to communicate with your friends, why not use it as a news and information source. It’s easier than taking the time to sit down and read the daily newspaper.
What do you think? Is convenience driving the way you get your news?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Would social media have made a difference?

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

This week marks the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. From television programming, special ceremonies, dedications and more, it seemed like the whole world was remembering the day in one way or another.

Personally, I took an interest in the documentary, “102 minutes that changed America,” which aired on multiple channels the morning of the 10th anniversary. The documentary contained many never before seen clips of the attacks from residents and tourists of New York City who shot video on their cell phones or video cameras.

One thing about this documentary that intrigued me was the amount of confusion that surrounded that morning. Obviously, nobody ever expected something like this to happen, but it seemed like it took a relatively long time before anyone had any idea what was going on.

For many of us, 10 years ago might not seem all that long ago, but keep in mind Facebook wasn’t launched until early 2004, YouTube wasn’t created until 2005 and Twitter didn’t launch until 2006.

If Facebook, Twitter or YouTube would have been around on September 11, 2001, what do you think would have been different? Would the ease of sharing information have made the morning less or more confusing for the world?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Inspiring Dale

By Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

You know how every once in a while you can feel down about yourself? Like nothing in your world is going right and if you have one more thing put on your list of things to do you think you will actually crack? I was feeling that way a few short weeks ago.

Then I saw Dale on TV.

Dale is a 12 year-old boy who took a trip to the beach off the shores of Washington with his church group on August 5th. Dale waded a few feet into the water only to be swept up by a riptide that took him farther and farther out from the shore. Several people tried to save him, but the current was just too strong, the waves too high. One minute Dale was yelling for help, the next he was gone.

When emergency personnel arrived and went into the water to find Dale, they weren’t very optimistic about the outcome. But after several minutes of searching, they found Dale and brought him to shore, not breathing and with no pulse. Dale had been underwater for 20 minutes.

Call it luck, a miracle, faith, effective CPR, whatever. The emergency responders didn’t give up and after minutes of treating Dale, they felt a pulse. He had survived. After four days in a medically induced coma, he opened his eyes.

It isn’t the story about Dale’s unbelievable brush with death that day that made me take notice, it was the story about his recovery. There I was, complaining about having too much to do while this young boy was in the hospital, learning how to walk and talk all over again. Dale continues to go through hours of intense therapy in order to do the simple tasks we all take for granted.

This story gave me a great thing: perspective. It made me take pause for a moment and remember how lucky I really am. When you look at what this 12 year-old boy has had to go through and how strong he is, I realize that I really have no reason to complain about my daily tasks. In fact, bring them on.

Has there been a story you’ve heard about that has given you a bit of perspective? Please feel free to share!