prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Social Media & Breaking News

Posted by prof e on February 24, 2014

If you’ve been paying attention to international news you’ve probably noticed that while the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia were winding down, a geo-political revolution was heating up in the neighboring state of Ukraine. Demonstrators battled riot police and security forces in the capital city of Kiev and, as the saying goes, the whole world was watching.

Over the weekend the tide appears to have shifted in favor of the demonstrators. Charged with mass murder, former president Yanukovych fled leaving behind a palatial estate complete with zoo and  golf course. Corruption has been a problem for this democratic state for many years, and it is still too soon to tell if this latest revolution will put them on the road to political stability.

But this is a blog primarily about media, not politics. Conveniently social media was an important component in the Kiev uprising of 2014, and one viral video in particular helped to focus attention on the plight of the Ukrainians. In case you didn’t see it…

Social media is being used increasingly as a source of news for teens and young adults. A recent survey of >5,000 adults by the Pew Research Journalism Project found that Reddit, Twitter and Facebook lead other social media for users reporting that they get news online. Of those who report using social media sites for news, most use only one site for news, while 26% get news from two sites, and 9% get news from 3 or more sites. It is also worth noting that the study found that social media news consumers also seek out news from traditional legacy media outlets such as cable TV and radio.

But social media as a source of news has some interesting strengths and weaknesses. One obvious strength is the speed of social news. A twitter feed from the front lines can literally provide a play-by-play account in near-real-time. Another strength is the democratization of sources. Citizen journalists and eyewitnesses can now transmit to a global audience. The barrier to entry has never been lower. As Mathew Ingram asserted in GigaOm, “social media is the only media that matters” in these contexts.

Of course these strengths are also weaknesses. Speed is frequently the enemy of accuracy. And the lack of gate-keepers and editors to vet content means that a lot of half-truths and out-right lies also make it into the mix. As Mark Twain once said, “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And these criticisms don’t even begin to raise questions about overt and covert propaganda. Who is behind the I am a Ukrainian video on YouTube and what should we believe about their efforts to elicit support? Remember, if you get your news from social media, you need to be prepared to be your own filter and fact-checker.


16 Responses to “Social Media & Breaking News”

  1. Kenneth Martinez said

    The power of social media is immense. Something that many people may have not heard of can be heard through a viral social media message. This video is an example of that. Although the story has been in the news, it hasn’t garnered the attention of the masses. This video is attempting that. Whether your message is good or bad, the use of social media can make it be heard by millions. The steps involved are first starting at the smaller websites. This is the entry point. Next is the use of legacy media such as TV and newspapers. Finally, to spread your message you need to utilize the national press. Once they get a hold of it, the message will be heard by the masses. The process is known as public relations. Public relations is a communication process, one that is strategic in nature and emphasizing “mutually beneficial relationships.”

  2. Daniel V. Seman said

    I am always skeptical of videos that portray people advocating action in favor of anything political. Similarly to the way commercials often claim the people in the ads are “real customers” who use their supposed real experience with a product to try to sell it, I have to wonder if sometimes the people in videos like “I am a Ukrainian ” are supposed to be “real advocates” but are really just people payed to present their “real experience” to sell an idea to the public. As Ryan Holiday wrote in “Confessions of a Media Manipulator”, a great way to make something national news is to inject into a media outlet low on the chain that others further up can draw from. YouTube is just such a source. This video could be an example of an entity starting at the bottom of the ladder. Finally, per the assignment for commenting on a “PR related video” I need to come up with some way of integrating the PRSA website. Well, I guess if companies (or governments) are putting up artificially created pieces on social media like Twitter and YouTube, in hopes that people will take the fake videos for real, natural creations of the people, that is totally unethical. The PRSA ethical code states that the field of PR should, “Protect and advance the free flow of accurate and truthful information.” If entities are pushing artificially created content in a subversive manner, they are in direct opposition to the ethical conduct which none of them uphold in the first place.

  3. mcchadrack said

    momba ibobo
    social media really become the most thing that has influence so many people in this generation. everything we do in social media weather is good or not many people would have different opinions on it. if you want to spread your news or want your message to be spread everywhere, you have to use the legacy media such as TV and newspaper.

  4. Celeste Molina said

    When I see things like this, I have to think if this is real or are they just protraying an idea to the public. In the “Confessions of a Media Manipulator”, for it to become a national news is to inject a media outlet, and of course Youtube is the perfect source of that media outlet. To me this video is an perfect example of a PR becuase Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics, and thats exactly what their doing

  5. Shane Smith said

    This video was a good example of Public Relations. Everywhere we go you see advertisements and this girl from the Ukraine new if she made a video and put it on social media she can get to a lot of people. Doing this she can try to convince people what she wants and she uses propaganda to pursue her audience. This video is a great example of PR which is a communication process.

  6. Daniel Potter said

    Daniel Potter
    MCCNM 101
    PRSA states”Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs” This video is a perfect example of defining what PRSA is saying. With such a strong message you can pose this as propaganda to suit your purpose to over throw a government, or at least add fuel to that already burning fire. Tying this in with “Confessions of a Media Manipulator” would be an easy connection here. It is using a trusting face with an emotional message with strong imagery to cause recourse over a government that most Americans really have no idea about. This strengthens a cause with no information just a message of help in which is even a stronger force because to most people (society) wants to help those in need, to be able to feel better and have a connection because of their own poor decisions so we group together to bring strength to a belief we can get behind and make a change. This I believe is a strong persuasion tool but unfortunately do not think its real. Nicely filmed great makeup application and lighting is spot on for her eyes and using a busy sidewalk in the background to compliment the other clips of movement was a great choice. These are all reasons it ties in with the media manipulator.

  7. Mikala Morris said

    When I first watched this video in class, I was intrigued and thought the movie was very well-made, but I was skeptical and tried not to quickly jump on this bandwagon. Ever since the Kony 2012 video that spread viral, which I was deceived by and believed wholeheartedly, I have been very cautious when it comes to watching these types of videos. I commend it for taking a similar route to the national media as Kony 2012, because it has gained a lot of exposure. According to Ryan Holiday’s “Confessions of a Media Manipulator,” is it essential to create chatter or a strong angle about the subject at hand because the national news sites will not construct their own story, but simply use the ones they find and make them public. At the time that this video, “I Am a Ukrainian,” was released, the fighting that was happening between Ukraine and Russia was just erupting and grabbing global attention. The fact that this video happened to come out shortly after the fighting was no coincidence, but used as a strategy to push this video’s publicity. The PRSA website states that public relations is simple and straight-forward and that it uses communication strategies to create relationships that benefit multiple angles. This video is scripted in a non-complex and easy to understand manner, and it does serve multiple angles. It allows the voices of the middle class and poor of the Ukraine that are being taken advantage of to have their voices heard, it helps those that are unaware of the situations going on across the world to be more conscious of global issues and it helps to promote ultimate peace from fighting between the countries of our world. This video was successfully marketed out to the masses through YouTube and other forms of social media, and it is a great example of public relations in our current events.

  8. Ashley Piper said

    Social Media & Breaking News was a great example of “Confessions of a Media Manipulator.” Creating this video on a topic that was already beginning to stir up attention basically gave the controversy another push to continue “trending up the chain.” The PRSA website states “create a chatter or a strong story angle to hook this kind of sucker,” and that is exactly what they did. Even in the chaos with people on the streets being considered homeless and protesting for what they want they take a women that looks none of these such things. An attractive women that looks far from homeless and well taken care of gives off innocence, that is in a time of need, pleading for help and assistance. Of course people are going to click a video that has this presentation and watch it. Not long before it’s all over pages, being shared on Facebook, and having hundreds of thousands of views. All it takes is one of these “suckers” to take the bait and continue to help push it on up the chain, eventually bringing it to the mass media’s attentions. Next it’s brought to United States and governments attentions to help the ones in need, and to figure out something that could help. Thus Ukraine getting what they wanted all along. This video is a great example of connecting to all societies, not just theirs, aka PR. This video is exactly what Ryan Holiday was talking about. I didn’t realize how easy it was and who knows maybe it’s not even 100 percent true.

  9. Julia Loya said

    PRSA states that “Public relations is a strategic communication process that build mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Within this article is shows us how important media could be. This video shows how they used the communication via media to speak on the problem that was taking place. This was a way that would attract many people’s attention, especially young people. It is difficult to know the difference between what we can believe and what is just false. With this video, seeing it right away you don’t know whether or not is true. Of course we want to believe that things on the internet are true, but things such as the “Confessions of a Media Manipulator”, make us question this. We tend to believe things if come from “a trusting source”, or in most cases something that is “popular” whether it is a person or organization. The individual used YouTube, something that is used by many people and then it soon was watched everywhere. With the video of Ukraine, the girl knew that it would start off somewhere and it soon became well known. Both individuals used the communication through other sites to get to us, the public.

  10. Christopher Farris said

    Putting up things like this on YouTube can be tricky. It is getting an important message out, and it so something will be done about the injustice that is taking place. It might cause problems for YouTube however because of it’s controversy. YouTube’s PR might have to check the facts if someone calls them into question, because the internet can be used to pump out lies as it said in the slideshow.

  11. kehipszky said

    I was really emotional when I saw this because my foreign exchange student last year is from Serbia, and another girl who was always at or house, is from Europe..the stories they told me about their home and seeing this video-plus knowing my daughter is going to stay with them after graduation scared me. It actually was 100% believable to me in the first place, then as we followed the updates we saw that it indeed was true and not just some falsified video or poor PR stunt. (It can be thought of as diversity to those not familiar with global issues) There were many mixed feelings and controversy, but I’d expect that from nearly anything- even a YouTube video that’s with your animal and funny,someone will take offense to it, I think using YouTube as a credible source is about the same as Wikipedia overall, though honestly, a lot of breaking things are seen on YouTube before they hit the news, etc.-the process of going viral and stories being validated before being shown as news because of the journalist/broadcast part of PR and reporting which requires checking sources and verifying. PR can be anything from damage control, cover-ups, promotion, advertising, trashing people, it’s a vast topic so I can see how everything is questioned. After watching “Confessions of a Media Manipulator” it makes me and likely others question more things that are thrown out and available but the expected reaction is all dependent on individuals, how they perceive views and interpret any/everything. In a sense, the presentation itself can be seen as propaganda or negative PR by its suggestion of ‘Trust me, I’m lying”, by making people less trusting. As pointed out in “PR Defined”, emotion can sway a persons judgement, through the concept of “engagement” of readers/viewers which in a sense-anything can impact us in one way or another. In the end, I guess I’d be considered one of the suckers in my feelings toward the Ukraine video, though I don’t personally understand how this or similar videos wouldn’t somehow get a reaction and make you feel sadness; even if you’re just cautious about what you see and believe. She was clearly scared and pleading for help. The rest can be controversial, but if you’re a young person living through that..wouldn’t you be scared and try to get help? I imagine she knew that Social Media is a way to catch attention. Just a thought, is it propaganda when Safeway or King Sooper’s asks if you’d like to donate to Children’s foundations, Downs syndrome, and other monthly causes that most of us probably at least donate a dollar to? It’s a different form of PR, but in my opinion shouldn’t be any less or more accepted than any opportunity/urge to help others.

  12. Rickie Gallegos said

    Social media holds a massive amount of power when it comes to topics like this. It allows the people to get their messages out, and bring people together to stand for something they believe in. I feel if social media wasn’t a thing, then it would be really hard for certain stories to get light, because social media is the bridge to getting stories like this to legacy media, like television and newspapers. If it weren’t for public relations, we wouldn’t know anything that is happening in our outside world, because according to the PRSA, “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” So obviously, without any public relations(e.i. social media), certain stories will get nowhere.
    I honestly had no idea this was going on until i seen this article and video. I knew that Russia and Ukraine had some conflict with each other around this time but i didn’t know this was going on. It makes me sad to see that a nation’s people have to go through that to get freedom, and i stand behind them completely because no one should have to be ruled under dictatorship. Everybody deserves freedom.

  13. Lynn Compton said

    PRSA stated ”Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing; financial; fund raising; employee, community or government relations; and other programs” This fit perfectly with the video. The government over there is ignoring the cries of their country and is not making a change to help their country develop. The power social media has on the world is an immense amount of pull if they were a smart country they would have someone help with their PR so that their country didn’t feel this way and their country wouldn’t be portrayed this way. Making people feel safe should be everyone’s goal as a country and I definitely think they don’t know how to give that sense of security to their people.

  14. reesben10 said

    When evaluating any piece of news, it is important to make sure that ALL of the information is accurate. “Confessions of a Media Manipulator” says that, “Blogs compete to get stories first, newspapers compete to ‘confirm’ it, and then pundits compete for airtime to opine on it.” This shows that the original source of the information, blogs, don’t necessarily care about the credibility as long as they have the first story. So how can the rest of the process be true if they are only confirming what is false? I don’t necessarily think that it’s the people’s fault for forming opinions about false topics because that’s all they’ve been given. Newspapers and bloggers need to do a better job at “Researching, conducting and evaluating, on a continuing basis”, says PRSA.

  15. Isaiah Jackson said

    Putting such a controversial topic like this on you tube can be very dangerous in how people inter prate it. The PR media can take it one way or another and the argument can last for days. But it is a great way to get the topic out and discussed but its also very risky.

  16. Danyalle Calhoun said

    When you made a point in class about the post on Facebook isn’t always truthful with the ads that appear on there. Some might be exaggerated or just not true. I agree with the post when they said you need to check if the story you choose to read isnactual fact and not a made up story. “Confessions of a Media Manipulator” says “Create the perception that the meme already exists and all the reporter is doing is popularizing it. They rarely bother to look past the first impressions”. The last sentence was the part that that relates to my point.

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