NPR’s social media strategist Andy Carvin to address 14th International Symposium on Online Journalism

Andy Carvin, NPR social media strategist. (Knight Center/Flickr)

The 2013 International Symposium on Online Journalism(ISOJ) will feature a man with an online presence that any journalist would envy. Andy Carvin, a senior strategist and social media front-man for NPR will be a keynote speaker at the 14th ISOJ conference to be held April 19-20 at the University of Texas at Austin.

Carvin’s fast fingers and work ethic during the Arab Spring helped NPR become one of the first news organization to reach 1 million Twitter followers. The journalist worked 18 hour days and averaged around 1,000 tweets a day while he was aggregating news from the streets as revolts spread from Tunisia to Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria starting in January 2011.

At the ISOJ conference, held at the University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art’s auditorium, Carvin will lead the afternoon session on Friday, April 19. Robert Quigley, a senior lecturer at UT Austin’s School of Journalism, and another pioneer of the use of social media in the newsrooms, will chair Carvin’s keynote session.

In the book he has just launched, Distant Witness: Social Media, the Arab Spring and a Journalism Revolution, Carvin delves into his use of the social media platform Twitter to highlight courageous efforts by people like Egyptian Mosaab Elshamy, who was caught in the middle of battles in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and Mohamed Nabbous, a young Libyan credited with becoming that nation’s first independent journalist.

Carvin is quick to acknowledge that the use of social media does not excuse poor reporting. When asked by a fellow Twitterer about feeling “useless knowing that all you are doing is aggregating short messages, many of which you cannot verify,” Carvin replied the critic was “assuming that I’m only talking to people via Twitter. I have sources you’ll never see me tweet.”

The International Symposium on Online Journalism is a program of the Knight Chair in Journalism, the UNESCO Chair in Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin. ISOJ is a unique conference that blends industry-oriented discussion and academic research. Since 1999, it has attracted journalists, media executives and scholars from around the world.

General registration for the ISOJ conference is $80 while faculty and students can pay $30 for the two-day event.