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Web journalists learn, network on popular Twitter chat

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Journalists can network, hear about the latest online news industry trends and learn social media tips and tricks by joining a Twitter chat for web journalists called #wjchat.

The weekly Twitter chat takes place every Wednesday at 5 p.m. PDT.

The chat #wjchat is the brainchild of online journalist Robert Hernandez who started it with the help of other journalists to connect with his peers in Los Angeles after his move there. It all started with a “snarky tweet” in which he criticized an existing Twitter chat that, in his view, mostly focused on public relations.

“That tweet touched a nerve and prompted web journalists to come out of the Twitterverse to express agreement,” wrote Hernandez on his blog.

Journalists from all over the world, including Dublin, Guatemala and Nigeria, have joined the conversation.

Topics have included math for journalists, developers' collaboration in the newsroom, mentors and giving back to journalism, experimental publishing, advancing the story real-time, among others.

IJNet interviewed Robert Hernandez about the chat and its impact on the journalism community:

IJNet: Why should journalists take part in #wjchat?

Robert Hernandez: This community is a place where everyone -- from different experience levels and skills -- can come together and share their knowledge and experiences. The chat lets you know you are not alone...not crazy...and encourages everyone to keep learning and sharing.

IJNet: In addition to networking, what has come about as a result of #wjchat?

R.H: We've been a magnet for parody accounts, which is always entertaining. We know that people have networked and found jobs through our chats, both on Twitter and in the real-life sessions. We have offered giveaways, most recently offering passes to BlogWorld in LA. I am in talks with BlogWorld NY.

IJNet: Are there plans to open this up to international journalists, maybe in different languages?

R.H: There was interest from a Latino journalist to have one in Spanish and I've seen #wjchat-related tweets in different languages. If someone wants to head up different languages of #wjchat, I think we'd welcome it. While I speak Spanish, my hands are full with the current English version.

IJNet: Do you know of any other Twitter chats for journalists? What makes #wjchat unique?

R.H: The first, original chat is #journchat. I attended that, which led to the snarky tweet. I think they skew more to public relations, but [they] do have many journalists who participate. #Pubchat on pubmedia launched around our time. I know ASNE was inspired by us to start their chat. Socjourn briefly had a chat, but, quite honestly, there's a chat for everything.

I think what makes us unique is that everyone who attends can answer the questions and share their experiences, not just our host. We're organic and inclusive. It's for us, all of us that care about journalism.

You can follow the #wjchat on Twitter or online here for archives of previous chats.

Photo: Robert Hernandez.

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