Social Media Is My Friend

A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have a presentation here at the Carleton J-school from Steve Buttry, an American journalist and social media guru ( in my opinion). He gave a riveting– if a little scary– presentation on the necessity of twitter for journalists, and basically, he rocked my second-year world!

My reporting professor also attended the lecture and had just come back from a seminar at the Poynter Institute on similar subject matter, so that week, our class embarked on an experiment. How could we use social media to find an original story idea and some great sources?

After searching Facebook for ages trying to find a group that sparked an idea in me I realized I wasn’t doing what scared me—I was doing what bored me. So, I decided to head to the ever-confusing labyrinth of Twitter to find a story that would really peak my interest. I headed to and after trying a few different searches, I finally came up with a tweet from a Canadian real estate agent that had the link to a very promising report from the Conference Board of Canada.

The report rated Ottawa as one of Canada’s top six most attractive cities for newcomers. I got to work.

A lot of the research for my piece involved the Internet, but not necessarily social media. However, I did use social media to find a really great “impact level” source, Sarah MacDonald.

I wanted to know who all of these “migrants” were that would find Ottawa so attractive, so I searched “moving to Ottawa” on twitter and found Sarah, a Cape Breton native who was totally into doing an interview with me and tweeted back to my right away. It was great to talk to someone that was so perfect for the issue, but whom I had searched out so completely randomly. She said she didn’t feel creeped out by my use of social media to find a source. She actually thought it was really smart!

What I learned:

-This story brought to my attention how very many Carleton Journalism grads there are out there in Ottawa and beyond and that many of them are willing to lend a hand to one of their own. The media relations woman at the Ottawa Real Estate Board and Jim Watson were two such welcome discoveries this week!

-This is a bit obvious, but I learned a lot about Ottawa, statistically speaking, after a great conversation with Mario Lefebvre from the Conference Board of Canada. We had a great talk about the Federal Government’s influence on Ottawa and it got me thinking of  a story idea that I could possibly use in the future ( but which I won’t include here for fear of journalism thieves!)

Here’s a link to the story!  Read and Enjoy!



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