Lead writer, BBC Trending, London
Cordelia Hebblethwaite believes journalists and news organizations are missing a trick by focusing almost exclusively on using social media for promotion. She argues that journalists need to get much more savvy at using social media in their reporting, and has put together The Social Media Reporter — a guide to help journalists master these skills. It’s based on dozens of interviews with journalists and social media companies, and the testing of countless social media tools. During her fellowship, Hebblethwaite learned the basics of computer programming — including coding, web scraping and working with APIs. She believes technologists and journalists need to work together much more closely. Hebblethwaite explored more creative approaches to organizational design at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school), and worked on a project with the startup First Look Media in New York. She also took classes at the Graduate School of Business, brushed up on her photography skills and tried her hand at acting.
Q: How can we tap the full potential of social media for newsgathering?
A: The most important thing is to give journalists the skills, confidence and training do this, hence The Social Media Reporter — a guide for journalists on how to use social media for newsgathering.
Posts by Cordelia
Many journalists used very negative terms – “I got dragged in” or “I gave in” – when describing how they first signed up to sites like Facebook or Twitter.''
Journalists can use social media as a reporting tool — to find stories, for newsgathering, research, finding interviewees and more.
Cordelia Hebblethwaite spent her early years in Italy, traveled in Africa, did research in the South Pacific, then worked as a radio presenter and reporter in Paris for Radio France International. She focused on African news, and reported from Libya and Ethiopia. From there, she moved to London where she has worked since 2006, for BBC World Service, BBC World TV and the BBC News website. She was a feature writer for the BBC in Washington, D.C. during the 2012 presidential campaign and reported on the untold story of how Mitt Romney’s family converted to Mormonism.
Her latest project has been to help launch BBC Trending, the BBC’s new social media team, which reports on stories trending around the world for a global audience. The project won a Webby in April 2015.
Information on this page is from the fellowship year.