Micah Grimes, NBC News and MSNBC social media head and Troy graduate, will give students social media advice for a tumultuous time in a digital age at the Hall School of Journalism and Communication’s annual symposium on Monday, Feb. 18.
Grimes plans to tell students about ways to implement social media to build a brand and reach wider audiences; however, he acknowledges that with the great power of social media comes great responsibility.
“Before social media, it was hard to get published to a mass audience without being an experienced journalist with the right connections,” Grimes said. “Now, anyone can publish whatever they want, and it can potentially reach a massive audience.
“Obviously, it’s good that more people can have their voices heard and their stories told, but the breakdown of some editorial review systems that provided for accurate, nuanced reporting has been detrimental to the profession and to humanity.”
News often starts on social media, according to Grimes, so students should maintain a “healthy balance” using media full of “information and stories that are hard to ignore.”
“If you’re not using (social media) in some manner, you’re going to be behind.”
Grimes said the “information revolution” the world lives in now creates an even more dire need for journalists.
“It has always been, and continues to be, journalists’ charge to understand and disseminate information in a way that allows citizens to make educated decisions about what they care about—and also what they may not care about but should,” Grimes said.
That aspect makes this day and age so crucial for journalism “because every day and age is so crucial for journalism.”
“Every time in history was the most important time in history for the people living through, trying to make the best decisions for their lives,” Grimes said. “Journalism as a profession and its media will change, but humans will always want to know and understand and need help understanding their world.”
Steve Stewart, an assistant professor of journalism, said the symposium will not only give students information but also allow them to make connections with prominent figures in the media.
“I think (the symposium) is valuable because it brings students into close contact with significant people in journalism and related fields,” Stewart said. “It helps them to interact with these individuals; students should take advantage of this opportunity that’s provided.”
Sarah Jones, a senior political science and multimedia journalism major from Alabaster, said the digitized age creates caution for journalists, both for students and career reporters.
“Social media brings a lot of things in the light that I wouldn’t hear about from people I’m friends with, especially on Facebook,” Jones said. “You have to be even more careful than when you publish in the paper.
“Social media is so instant and easy for people to take screenshots and have receipts, once it’s out there you can’t really get rid of it.”
The public may attend the free symposium, “Journalism, Social Media and Business: How to Excel in a Volatile Time for News,” on Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. in the Trojan Center Ballrooms, and attendees can use the hashtag #TroyGrimes to talk about the event on social media.
“If you’re interested in any of those topics, I think this would be worthwhile to you,” Stewart said. “Social media and the internet are big money makers for people.
“This is a way for us to learn good techniques for surviving and using social media to your advantage and to do good work.”