August 08, 2013
/ by Laura Botham
Since its beginnings, social media has slowly, then very quickly changed the world of journalism. From how we gather and learn news, to how news and content are marketed, social media has become a key player in today’s media. It’s only natural that journalists would write about it.
Kristin Burnham, the new senior editor at InformationWeek has made a name for herself as an award-winning journalist doing just that. She covers social business, social media and IT leadership and careers. She has received numerous national awards including Digital Azbee Gold Award, Min’s Editorial & Design Award Winner for Single Online Articles and IDGie Award for Best Social Media Outreach.
Burnham started out as editor of her classroom’s newsletter in seventh grade and never looked back. After studying journalism at Syracuse University, she joined IDG Media in 2007 as an editorial assistant and eventually began covering social media.
“I started my journalism career at IDG (CIO / CIO.com’s parent company) and it was truly the best place to learn and grow,” she said.
In her new position, Burnham is excited to be producing more news-focused content. She credits CIO Magazine with providing a foundation in covering the IT space and understanding what it is that IT executives do.
“Covering the IT careers and leadership beat is new for me,” she said. “Since there’s some overlap with careers in my social media and social business coverage, I’ve had a taste of it.”
It seems like every week there is a new player vying for traction in the social media landscape, new Facebook or Twitter updates, and new ways to utilize and promote content. All the while, Burnham has been watching and assessing.
“I can’t imagine not writing about it,” she noted. “And I consider myself really fortunate to have been able to cover social media since its early years. It’s a really fun, fast-moving beat.”
As social media has shaped a new digital environment both commercially and for consumers, new business models have taken hold. Social media is now a key component to how businesses market themselves, recruit new hires and connect with consumers.
“I’ve had the opportunity to cover Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn since its early days, which has given me a unique perspective on how those sites have evolved and the reasons why they make the decisions they do,” Burnham explained. “I know these sites inside out – from privacy settings to new features and I think that’s what sets my coverage apart from others.”
Her articles offer advice to both consumers and industry insiders on how to maximize time spent on social media, and how to recognize what it is you want to get out of your interactions.
“I think the biggest opportunity for journalists using social media is a two-fold: First, is using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to create a professional brand for yourself–reaching your audience and promoting your posts and becoming known as an expert in your beat. Second, is using social media for research and finding sources. LinkedIn and Twitter are great ways to find reputable contacts and connect quickly with them.”
Burnham delves into the upgrades, policy changes and other updates, pointing out what the changes mean to the user, and how to best take advantage. “I think it’s going to be really interesting to see where social media is headed in the next few years, especially with some of the new features Facebook has in its pipeline.”
While digital technology is changing the world around us, it is important to keep on top of the trends and changes; otherwise you may find yourself left in the digital dust.
“Social media can be a great tool if you know how to use it, or really scary and intimidating if you don’t.” Pitching Tips
Burnham prefers being contacted via email over phone calls.
“I receive a large volume of pitches but the most useful ones include: social business customer stories (how a business implemented a tool to help solve a problem); experts who can offer career advice or IT executives; and businesses who can offer analysts to comment on a breaking news story related to social media/careers/social business.”
She is available on Twitter at @kmburnham.
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