Recently I was referred to as "oh, the twitter girl" by another journalist.  I was not present during the conversation but a friend who was thought the comment was so funny that I was called right up and told about it.  The conversation was apparently one of those, "hey, how's it going in your shop?" and my name was brought up.  While my friend found the references amusing, I found it disturbing.

I believe in using all tools possible to advance journalism.  The tools at my hands at all times on the news desk are social media.  Twitter, by it's own definition is the "exchange of quick, frequent messages," which fits with my work.  I am able to quickly and frequently keep followers updated on the happenings in the newsroom, including breaking news, especially where public safety is concerned.  I am also on facebook as Misty Montano CBS for news only; where I've had stories pitched to only me via facebook, which I have successfully planned and were broadcast. Obviously, I also blog.

I don't mind being called Twitter girl.  I do, however; feel trivialized by another journalist addressing me in this way.  This is how he acknowledged me as a journalist; not for how I handle being an assignment editor.  This is not the first time I've been treated as trivial for being on Twitter.  I have debated the value of using Twitter with coworkers.  I've also felt the pushback and resistance from many journalists when I speak to other journalists about utilizing social media. 

I've never said using social media is the only way to evolve as a journalist.  I believe media as we know it is rapidly changing and those in their early 20's, just 10-years younger than me, gather their news vastly differently than I do.  I utilize social media because I want to be able to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds.  I want to be where people are.  I want to be easily accessible.  If I'm not, those searching for news will choose another news source. 

I'm not the only journalist receiving flack for using different journalistic tools.  Josh Awtry, Assistant Managing Editor for Online and Presentation for The Salt Lake Tribune, has been labeled a story killer for his "his steadfast support for the short, graphic-driven alternate story form known as the 'charticle.'"  He was given this nickname by his own coworkers who do not believe in charticles, or believe the charticle will destroy traditional newspaper reporting.

Awtry and I seem to run up against the same wall.  This wall defines news and journalism so tightly there is little to no room for an addition.  The wall is not holding.  Newspapers are folding.  Many a cartoonist has expressed the newspaper is dying.  Television stations have continued lay offs, such as the first female sports broadcaster in Colorado, and mandatory furloughs

The wall needs to be remodeled to save the media, the news.  This is not a new thought.  It's being talked about in newsrooms, online, in public and even within the government.  Do an online search for save the news or save print or save the media you will find link after link of blog posts and of news articles.

Look at some of the laws, from copyright changes to mandating automated content, that some, including members of congress, are proposing to change to save newspapers.  (If one proposed change to make linking illegal was passed, I'd be breaking the law big time in this, and many of my blogs. However, in my opinion, linking to sources I'm using is eliminating any possible plagiarism, and giving proper credit where credit is due.)  Some are asking for government funding, much like the BBC, which is funded by a public license fee and the government, but is independent of state control.  Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather has asked for a "commission on public media and independent reporting."

I said I do not believe Social Media is the only option.  It's what I'm able to do now; just as producing the charticle is what Awtry does.  Whole organizations have been formed to find ways for journalists and citizens to create and stay relevant i in news, including and J-LabGrants for new media organizations are increasing for funding of news and information projects, including investigative journalism efforts.  One example is ProPublica, "a new, non-partisan, non-profit newsroom producing journalism in the public interest."

Then there are the efforts of making finding, creating and distributing the news easier.  One project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard is Media Cloud, "a system that lets you see the flow of the media."  Another is the Tides Center Local Publishing by Bill Fitzgerald, "A project that intends to create a free publishing system that allows multiple geographic communities to share local news and information with one another."

I don't think there is a journalist who can honestly claim news media is not changing.  So why the resistance to new ideas and ways to save the news?  Why demean the efforts individuals and media organizations have put forth to be adaptable; to survive?