Journalist speaking about social media

By Cameron Griffin | @KyKernel

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Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame member Al Tompkins will speak about the use of social media and its effects on journalism at the annual Joe Creason Lecture on Tuesday in the Worsham Theater.

Tompkins, a senior faculty member for broadcast and online journalism at The Poynter Institute, will be delivering a lecture titled “We Have Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr, do we REALLY Need Journalists?” which will begin at 6 p.m.

Tompkins is the author of the book “Aim For The Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters,” which was adopted by more than 75 universities as their main broadcast writing textbook.

The Joe Creason Lecture Series brings a prominent journalist to UK’s campus to speak in front of an assembly of students, faculty and the public each year.

Beth E. Barnes, the director of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, said she thinks Tompkins will be a great speaker this year.

“He will offer some great examples and food for thought to give some reinforcement on the critical role that journalists play,” Barnes said.

Barnes said that Tompkins is a very engaging speaker and that he is a good fit as the School of Journalism tries to choose speakers who have important messages to share that are relevant to students.

Tompkins will share critical stories that were identified and reported on by journalists to show there still is a need for trained journalists in an era where it seems like anyone can be a reporter.

“I will be talking a lot about the events of the Boston bombings and how in social media there was a lot of information being put online at a rapid pace during those events,” Tompkins said. “Journalists have a vital role to play as ‘sense-makers’ in reporting because there is loads of information put online and we need journalists to investigate and check the truth for that information.”

Tompkins hopes potential journalists get encouragement from his speech but also warnings that their roles as “sense-makers” separate them from people on social media.

“Journalists will always be a reliable source to tell what is real, not real, what is true, and not true,” Tompkins said.

Along with delivering his speech, Tompkins will be teaching, will be meeting with faculty to talk about future curricula in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, and will be available to speak with students while on campus.