• Jordan Elder

Character Sketch of a Digital Journalist

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

By: Jordan Elder

Social media producer Angel Mendoza sums himself up in two words: severely online. But in a world where news consumers are increasingly pulling their content from social media instead of physical newspapers, that’s exactly what outlets like the Arizona Republic need.

“I’m practically easier to reach on Twitter than in real life,” Mendoza says about his social media habits.

Turning the page on traditional journalism

Mendoza considers himself to be a digital journalist. He writes stories, schedules posts for the azcentral social media accounts and occasionally mans the Facebook livestreams. He has been a key instrument in revamping the Arizona Republic’s social media presence. Making their feed seem more human and less robotic has been one of his main goals. Part of this change includes engaging with the audience.

“We’ve gotten a bit better about responding to readers’ comments and concerns, regardless of how exhausting it becomes,” he says. Mendoza also does his duty as a millenial and helps keep the azcentral feed up to date with meme culture.

Some of Mendoza's tweets for @azcentral

Severely online… all the time

Even when he’s off the clock, you’ll find Mendoza on Twitter. According to the Twitter analytics platform Followerwonk (link), he tweets an average of 242 times per week. “I still very much enjoy it, even though I tweet about wanting to log off all the time,” he says.

Log off? Never. You’ll find him firing off witty tweets well into the night. This Followerwonk graph shows the amount of content Mendoza creates and re-shares throughout the day:

Mendoza's content creation/sharing per hour

This level of engagement sets him apart from other journalists and benefits his digital focus. His definition of a digital journalist is someone who creates content “that can keep up with social media’s news cycle,” which is quick and ever-changing.

Though some older readers may not understand some of the memes he masterminds, Mendoza is one of the next-generation journalists who could pull millennials and Generation Z back into news consumption.

He calls it being severely online, but some would call it being one step ahead.

You can keep up with Angel on Twitter (of course).

Jordan Elder can be reached on Twitter or by email at jmelder1@asu.edu.

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