All posts by Elano Pizzicarola

The New Medium, now at

The New Medium has moved to For now, further posts — still covering the use of social media in journalism — will appear on that site.


The Washington Post uses audio platform Soundcloud for end-of-the-year crowdsource project

Soundcloud may not be the go-to social media platform for journalists, but that does not mean some papers have ignored the tool that lets users upload and publicly share pieces of audio.

Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post all have tried out Soundcloud.

But to cap off the year, the latter did something special. The Washington Post uploaded a series of clips, each with someone sharing what he or she learned in 2014.

It collected the audio by asking the public to leave their name and a message on a voicemail.

The result is 35 messages, all of which can be heard on the The Washington Post’s Soundcloud page.

Those sending their thoughts were not limited to readers, as The Washington Post’s own Wesley Lowery shared what he learned.

Another contributor, Marlena Chertock, submitted her own 2014 reflection.

In a blog post, Chertock also critiqued the approach:

“This is a very audio-driven project, and further proof that audio has the potential to — and is — going viral. The paper also publishes an image quote with each voicemail lesson, which helps readers quickly synthesize the audio. The brutally honest nature of these lessons, and the fact that voicemails are typically short, may be helping this project take off.”

Chertock is spot-on, and while visual journalism has taken off, the audio element also adds an intimate feel that humanizes the reporters far more than an Instagram post of their food.

Disclosure: At one time, Lowery and I were both affiliates of the National Association of Black Journalists.

November brought a trend of journos’ Twitter gaffes

Perhaps some reporters should return to using Twitter as a reporting tool.

Last Sunday, Awful Announcing, a blog covering sports media, announced it “severed its relationship” with Steve Lepore, one of its writers. Sports blog Deadspin reports the move came after Lepore, on Twitter, treated women inappropriately by “[asking] what sort of photos they might be willing to pose for.”

His actions mark the third recent incident involving journalists’ Twitter use.

In another Twitter blunder, student reporter Marisa Martin came under fire after tweeting an insensitive “joke” about Jameis Winston, a Florida State University football player.

The Washington Post:

Marisa Martin, a student at the University of Alabama, tweeted the following on Wednesday night: “Reported gunman on the FSU campus. Maybe he is heading for Jameis,” a reference to Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston. When criticized by other Twitter users for her comment, she defended her Tweet: “Since apparently I cant make a joke in all seriousness I hope everyone at FSU is safe & that the gunman is found. But I stand by my opinions.”

Winston, who is facing sexual assault accusations, was the victim of another tweet that was not just insensitive, but potentially libelous. San Francisco Chronicle’s Ann Killion reportedly tweeted “C’mon Boston College. Beat the rapist,” before deleting the tweet and apologizing.

But at ESPN, one writer was punished for behavior on Twitter that was less offensive. ESPN writer Keith Law, according to Slate, took to Twitter to debate baseball analyst Curt Schilling on evolution. Per Slate, ESPN suspended Law from Twitter, but claimed the punishment “had absolutely nothing to do with his opinions on the subject.”

While journalists can benefit from humanizing themselves on Twitter, it is important for them to do so professionally. The debate on evolution did just that, but the other cases show some reporters struggle to strike that balance.

HipHopDX, post-Michael Brown decision, retweets celebs nearly 150 times

The line between rap music and activism against police brutality is paper-thin. Look no further than the N.W.A. classic “F**k tha Police.”

Rap aficionados may already know of the close relationship, but it’s fair to say no one expected online rap publication to take to their Twitter like they did the night of the Michael Brown decision, in which police officer Darren Wilson was not indicted.

HipHopDX went basically nonstop in retweeting musicians thoughts on the decision. In the hours following the news, the site shot out nearly 150 retweets from musicians ranging from rapper Nas to Pharrell, and other public figures.

Hip hop dx nas retweet

hip hop dx pharell retweet

XXL, @XXL, and The Source, @TheSource, two other hip-hop publications, followed suit, but both did not retweet nearly as much as HipHopDX.

For those looking for more of HipHopDX retweeting spree, here is a Storify including original tweets, which is apparently all Storify allows, that HipHopDX retweeted.

Video infographics become a hit on social media, other online journalism

It is not uncommon to find an infographic with an online article. Publishers are well aware of an infographic’s ability to report complex news in a more engaging and simple way.

That trend has evolved into the use of video infographics, which have been well-received.

The Pew Research Center has posted some video infographics to its YouTube. Over the past year, most of them have been viewed more than twenty-five thousand times. That far surpasses the number of views for *their* other videos that have seldom reached five thousand.

The popularity of them has become strong enough to spawn, where you can find sort of a gallery of them covering an array of topics.

Getting them made
On, each video, whether it’s a YouTube or Vimeo one, has a link to contact info of the video’s apparent creator. And for those who want to look elsewhere, graphic design company Thought Café has garnered attention for their work for non-profits.

Trying them on Instagram
Most video infographics run at least a minute, as it takes at least that long to convey most issues. But considering the response to ones on Pew’s YouTube channel, uploading to Instagram 15-second infographic videos seems worth a try if they cover their topic sufficiently. In fact, one of Pew’s video infographics explained in 30 seconds remarriage in the U.S.

How GQ, popular on Instagram, has fared with its article-promoting posts

Social media platform Instagram is not exactly newsroom-friendly, and it’s because of one reason. Publications cannot include a link, perhaps to an article, in their post. That would make one think Instagram’s limited ability to drive traffic to a website would, in turn, alienate publications.

But that is not the case.

Magazines have not just flocked to Instagram, but achieved success doing so, reports Digiday.

GQ, having garnered 1.2 million followers, told Digiday one way they harness the app is by promoting upcoming issues.

With the captions below the corresponding posts, here is a look at their work and the response to it. For context, it should be noted that most of GQ’s recent posts get about 10 to 20 thousand likes.

Monday it shared via video covers for its “Men of the Year” issue.

“Presenting our 2014 Men of the Year covers with @anselelgort, @shai_woodley, @mikeysam52, @prattprattpratt, Dave Chappelle, and Steve Carell. #GQMOTY”

Some posts have shared details about content already on their site, but those get less likes than most others.

Here, the magazine posted that its latest issue, the “Project Upgrade: Michael Kors Edition,” can be viewed online.

“We asked @michaelkors to give 5 average guys a sartorial lift. See the whole Project Upgrade: Michael Kors Edition now on (link in profile, photo by Sebastian Kim)”

GQ posts also images about Q and A’s on its site…

“Instajack: Read our Q&A with model, muse and badass @damarislewis now on Oh, and you’ll want to follow her on Instagram, too.”

“Instajack: read our Q&A with @haileyc123 now on And oh yeah, follow her on Instagram for more of this ⬆️.”

“Instajack: read our Q&A with @goodmans fashion director @brucepask on and follow him on IG for some behind-the-scenes at the BG men’s store.”

But when GQ posted a cover, graced by Kanye West, the post racked up far more likes.

The Kanye West August GQ cover, shot by Patrick Demarchelier, is here.

A post shared by GQ (@gq) on

“The Kanye West August GQ cover, shot by Patrick Demarchelier, is here.”

In terms of likes, results from these posts advertising their editorial content vary seemingly based on the popularity of the person featured. Yet the approach, similar to one used on Vine, can be harnessed by publications big and small.

Snapchat set to unvail news-friendly, ‘Discover’ section

While prominent news orgs have already harnessed Snapchat, the social media app with the sort-of vanishing posts, it looks like the private messenger will attract more publications.

Digiday reports Snapchat is poised to roll out a section, called Discover, for news and other types of content from publishers. News orgs with which Snapchat has begun talks include Vice, ESPN, BuzzFeed and National Geographic.


“The conversations illustrate just how grand Snapchat’s media distribution ambitions are. It’s natural for Snapchat to want to partner with Comedy Central and National Geographic since they specialize in creating compelling video and still imagery, the two kinds of messages Snapchat trades in. But Snapchat also wants to serve its users text and audio, which would make it an all-inclusive media consumption app.”

However, it is surprising that NatGeo would be interested in Discover. While Digiday is correct in that NatGeo’s captivating content lends itself to visual media, the image and video quality on Snapchat does not measure up to Instagram, where NatGeo shines.