I will soon begin teaching my annual module in Online Journalism and one of the first things I get the students to do is set up a Twitter account. It’s often a struggle to demonstrate the usefulness of Twitter, so this time around, in addition to following each other, I’m going to give them 10 people to start following from the off. This is the list I’ve come up with – would welcome your suggestions for others:
- @davelee – former journalism student and excellent blogger who landed a plum job at the BBC after graduating. Get the point?
- @channel4news – example of how a news organisation can use Twitter in a personal, conversational way, rather than simply republishing its RSS feed (see also: @r4news, @mashable)
- @jemimakiss – likewise, example of a journalist using Twitter to involve readers in production, as well as just be a ‘real person’ (alternative: Mike Butcher).
- @jayrosen_nyu – journalism professor at New York University with excellent links and analysis on the news industry and online journalism (see also: @jeffjarvis)
- @digidickinson – Andy Dickinson, UK journalism lecturer and online video specialist. Ditto above. (alternative: @egrommet)
- @bhampostjoanna – Jo Geary of the Birmingham Post & Mail, uses Twitter brilliantly, and is so switched on there’s a power surge every time she wakes up. (alternatives: Sarah Hartley and Alison Gow)
- @shanerichmond – Communities Editor at The Telegraph, knows his onions. (alternative: Martin Stabe)
- @documentally – vlogger, moblogger, social media man, has worked with Reuters and others
- This is a local choice so you would probably have a local equivalent, but @peteashton founded local arts blog Created In Birmingham, which recently won Best UK Blog. Every journalism student should be following – and talking with – people like this in their area. One good place to find out is by searching twitter.grader.com for your area
- Likewise, @tom_watson is a local MP, but is closely involved in campaigning for the release of government data to the public, and in the government’s digital communications generally. You may have a local or national equivalent.
Needless to say I’ll be suggesting they use services like Twellow, Twitterlocal and Twits Like Me to find other users in their ‘beat’, but I think it helps get someone into a conversation quicker if they can see what other people are talking about – and how.
Over to you – who would you recommend…?