The #leedsBJs Twitter Hashtag

The university newsroom used by the Leeds BJs.

I’ve only got a few sessions in which to teach the first year Broadcast Journalists at the University of Leeds about online journalism. But I hope it’ll be enough time to give them at least some of the tools they’ll need to make a success of the rest of the course.

Last week I got those who weren’t already on Twitter to join. And to help them all get used to the idea of using Twitter as a journalism tool, I’ve introduced a hashtag for the students to use while discussing their coursework or anything related to journalism. It’s #leedsBJs.

Hashtags are one way in which we can get the information we need from Twitter, from amidst all the noise about Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. I covered another method in a previous post about Twitter lists. Attaching a hashtag to a journalism course is something that already takes place at prestigious centres of media learning such as Columbia and City. So, I thought to myself, if New York and London have got a hashtag, then Leeds should too.

Earlier this year, some of the London #cityhacks used their hashtag to debate aspects of what they were being taught, which was covered by the excellent Wannabe Hacks site in this post. The #leedsBJs can certainly use theirs to talk about their assignments like that. They might also share links with their colleagues, or even just sort out course nights in the pub as they get to know each other better. All of these would be valuable uses of something that is, after all, free. Students may well appreciate that last part of it most of all.

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