Exercise 1


On 15 January 2009, several interesting things happened. Firstly, a plane crash-landed into the Hudson River, right in the middle of New York City. The pilot, crew and 155 passengers all escaped safely. But then, something else happened …

Jim Hanrahan was nearby and watched the event happen. He immediately tweeted that he had just seen a plane crash in the Hudson. From there the news spread quickly. People contacted him immediately and asked him what was happening, and other people on the street took photos and videos with their phones and posted them online. Ordinary people suddenly became journalists. It was 15 minutes before the news broke on official news channels.

Photos, videos and tweets from ordinary people at the scene of dramatic events now provide the words and images that describe events in the news. When a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk in 2013, millions of people around the world watched videos and photos of the event on Facebook and YouTube. When NASA discovered ice on Mars, it used Twitter to spread the news. ‘Are you ready to celebrate?’ they tweeted. ‘We have ICE!!!!! Yes, ICE, WATER ICE on Mars!’ News from another planet suddenly felt personal.

Social media can also save lives. In January 2010, an earthquake hit the Caribbean island of Haiti. The government said that there had been an earthquake, but they didn’t give many details at first. Meanwhile, people living in the disaster area were posting photos and eyewitness accounts on Twitter and Facebook and telling the world that it was an emergency and houses were collapsing. Carel Pedre, a local radio presenter, used this information in his reports to help people find family members, and people even phoned his programme to ask if their relatives were safe.

News travels fast on social media, but false stories spread just as quickly as the truth. Some of these are ‘facts’ reported in error, others are deliberate hoaxes. When Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of the USA in 2012, many of the dramatic photos of storms and floods were real. But did you see the photos of stormy skies above the Brooklyn Bridge? Did you see the photos of seals and sharks in the streets? Or the deep-sea diver in the New York subway? These photos were all fakes – either real photos from other events or computer-generated images.

Hoaxes like these remind us that not everything people post and publish is reliable. But social media can change our lives for the better. In the words of Carel Pedre, ‘May we continue to use Twitter to save lives and change the world.’

A. Read Everyone’s a journalist and answer the questions.

 What’s the connection between social media and the photos?

 Which news stories not shown in the photos are mentioned in the article?

 What is the danger of relying on social media to get news?

B. Read the article again and answer the questions.

 How many people died in the Hudson River plane crash?

 How did people spread images and videos of Chelyabinsk?

 What did NASA tell people about on Twitter?

 How did Carel Pedre use social media?

 What was the problem with some of the photos of Hurricane Sandy?

C. Match words in the article with the definitions below.

 a place where something happens:   s______

 full of action and excitement:   d______

 found (for the first time):   d______

 a very bad situation in which people die or are hurt:   d______

 a person who sees an even happen:   e______

 jokes or tricks:   h______

 things that look real but aren’t:   f______



1   The photos show news stories which were spread on social media.

2   A story about ice being found on Mars; an earthquake (a sudden movement of the Earth’s surface, causing damage) in Haiti; a story about a hurricane in New York.

3   Some stories are false.


 No one died.

 on social-media sites

 the discovery of ice on Mars

 He used information on social-media sites to help people find family members after the earthquake.

 They were fakes.


1 scene   2 dramatic   3 discovered   4 disaster

5 eyewitness   6 hoaxes   7 fakes

Exercise 2


A report this week announced that journalism courses are now more popular than ever with students. But what is it like to work as a journalist?

Here, two young journalists tell Careers for Life about their experience.


Mercedes Alvarado, 24

A typical day for me starts at 7 am. The morning is always the hardest part of the day because I have to work all the time without any breaks. I only have about 7 or 8 hours to finish a story and there is a lot to do in that time.

First, I have to interview people for the story and sometimes that means travelling quite a long way. I usually go by train so that I can carry on working on my laptop. I also need to think about photos for the story. These days I usually buy pictures from a photo agency but sometimes a photographer goes with me on a story. I usually have to write a story of about 1,000 words and it can be very difficult to do that in only a few hours. By 4 pm I’m usually exhausted, but I don’t normally leave work until 5 pm.

I have wanted to be a journalist since I was five years old and I studied journalism at university, so working for a newspaper has been a dream come true. Journalism is a great career but can be a very stressful one that does not pay very well. Anyone who is thinking of becoming a journalist needs to know that.


Frankie Kaufman, 20

I had never had any plans to become a journalist but then I started my business blog when I was still at university. I wasn’t enjoying life as a student so when a news organisation offered to pay me for my reports I immediately accepted. I eventually quit university to blog full time, even though I’ve never actually had any training as a reporter.

My day starts at 4 am when I check Twitter in bed to find out what has happened around the world during the night. I start preparing my first report at around 4.30 am and it is usually finished and on my website by 5.30 am. In a normal day I can expect to write maybe five or six reports and I usually manage to sell at least two or three of them to news agencies. It’s really exciting when an agency from another country buys one of my reports. I love the idea that something that I wrote in my kitchen is being read by someone in Dubai or Dallas.

I make good money but I work hard for it. I often don’t go to bed until 11 pm and I usually work 7 days a week. I would say that unless you are really in love with journalism this is not a career for you.

A. Read the article and tick (✓) the correct answers.

1   Why has the article been written?

      a   to encourage more students to take courses in journalism

      b   to explain why careers in journalism have become popular with students

      c   to show the advantages and disadvantages of a career in journalism

2   Who has the article been written for?

      a   owners of news organisations

      b   professional journalists

      c   students who study journalism

3   Which of these things do Mercedes and Frankie have in common?

      a   They both earn good money at their job.

      b   They both love their work.

      c   They both studied journalism at university.

4   Mercedes and Frankie both agree that people who want to become journalists …

      a   need to travel all over the world

      b   should be really interested in journalism.

      c   will have to work at weekends.

B. Read the text again and tick (✓) the correct answers.

Who … Mercedes Frankie Neither Mercedes nor Frankie
1   works when they are travelling?    
2   enjoys thinking about the readers of their stories?      
3   has a parent that was also a journalist?      
4   does not sleep very much?      
5   won a prize for journalism while at university?      
6   often writes more than one story in a day?      
7   always knew they wanted to be a journalist?      
8   became a journalist by accident?      
9   takes their own photos for their stories?      
10   has no free time in the mornings?      
11   works from home?      
12   writes stories of 1,000 words?      

C. Read the notice from a student magazine. Write a short article.

We are looking for people to tell us about their experiences of work or study. We would like you to write a short article explaining:

•   what your job is or what you are studying

•   why you have chosen the job or course you are doing

•   a typical day at work or at university



1 c   2 c   3 4 b


2 Frankie   3 Neither   4 Frankie   5 Neither   6 Frankie   7 Mercedes

8 Frankie   9 Neither   10 Mercedes   11 Frankie   12 Mercedes

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