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Journalists should follow their news sense when it comes to digital reporting

October 27, 2017

By Bond University Journalism students, Dinushka Gunasekara and Emily Bradfield

In a digital world where there’s an app for everything the most powerful tool a woman has is herself.

Panellists Kim Porteous, Sandy Bresic and Rachel Hancock gave advice on digital journalism at the Australian Women in Media Conference at Bond University.

As a digital journalist, it’s easy to get caught up in analytics, but The Courier-Mail deputy editor Rachel Hancock says you should instead place value on content.

“You can fall into the trap of following the likes, but in the end it’s the story that counts,” Hancock said.

ABC content Strategist Kim Porteous also encouraged women to make use of their emotional intelligence as intuition is often more powerful than data.

She also encouraged journalists to be strategic about how they assessed social media platforms and a story’s performance.

“You have to track the right data, don’t track likes,” Porteous said.

She recommended a more holistic approach of monitoring shares, how long audiences engaged with videos or how many minutes they spent reading a story.

The Weekend Australian Magazine creative director Sandy Bresic agreed that analytics could help journalists do their job better but stressed they were not a substitute for innovative reporting.

“We forget to use ourselves in the process and we rely on technology rather than asking ourselves ‘would I want to read that story,’” Bresic said.

“Go with your gut.”

The panellists also discussed how the online space had changed the nature of breaking news and increased competition amongst media to be first.

Hancock also warned journalists to be wary of prematurely breaking stories as incorrect information could threaten a story - and a journalist’s - credibility.

“Think before you post,” she said.