Panel Tackles Social Media and Natural Disasters

Arkansas SPJ is announcing two great events for Saturday, June 25th, for anyone who has to cover natural disasters.

And really, after this spring’s tornadoes, isn’t that all of us?

First, we’re hosting an episode of the national online radio program “Studio SPJ” at 11:00 a.m. on the topic of social media and disaster coverage.  Guests include:

  • Karen-Lee Ryan, Director of Online Content at the Nashville Tennessean, which was nominated for a Pulitzer for its coverage of local floods last year.
  • Rick Smith, who works with the National Weather Service out of the National Weather Center in Norman, Okla.

Then, we’re doing an in-person panel at 2:00 p.m. at the Cox Creative Center in Little Rock.

We’ve got several local figures who are making use of social media to improve disaster coverage: Todd Yakoubian of KATV, John Robinson of the National Weather Service, and David Goins with Fox-16.

When disaster strikes (or seems imminent) residents are increasingly likely to look on sites like Facebook and Twitter for minute-by-minute updates.

As journalists, we have to do our best to get good information to people exactly when they need it. We also need to know how to utilize the reports that appear on these sites to direct our own reporting.

Stay tuned for more info on these events!

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