Speaker in the spotlight: BBC News social media editor Chris Hamilton at Social PR Strategies

Chris Hamilton has been a journalist for 15 years, specialising in digital and social media. He will be speaking at the Social PR Strategies conference on 5 February and joins a line up of top professionals in PR and comms to discuss how to get the best out of social media.

Chris Hamilton: "Any story can potentially reach us through social."
Chris Hamilton: "Any story can potentially reach us through social."

Starting out as a general news reporter at the UK's main news agency, the Press Association, Hamilton joined BBC News in 2000, working as a reporter, special content producer and planning editor on its very successful news website.

He latterly joined the project team moving the BBC Newsroom into a brand new development at Broadcasting House in central London, before being appointed social media editor for BBC News in May 2011.

How do you define the media today?

Increasingly mobile, social and personal. That combination is fuelling a second wave of digital disruption as a swathe of newcomers challenge established digital brands, who in turn first challenged the established broadcasters and print publications. It's an exciting time.

How has social media rewritten the ways you produce news/find stories?

At BBC News, social media allows us to build much deeper relationships with our audiences. It gives us access to people and content that transforms our ability to tell stories, and it means we can get our content to people who might not come to us anywhere else. It's also massively increased the pace of the news cycle, something we're fortunately well placed to adapt to thanks to our experience with continuous news across digital, TV and radio.

Which types of stories do you pick up from social?

Most obviously breaking news of a dramatic nature, such as natural disasters, because we often hear about them first from social media. But, with so many celebrities, politicians, brands and influencers active on social media, any story can potentially reach us this way. The really interesting part is the way stories sourced from or affecting ordinary people can now filter up and become national or international news, because those involved are talking about them publicly on social media. It was a longer and much more convoluted process before.

If you had one recommendation for PR professionals trying to engage with you, what would it be?

Make sure the product, idea or content you want to talk about is original and good.

Find out more about the Social PR Strategies conference, featuring speakers from the Wall Street Journal, Nokia, Gumtree, Action for Children the Guardian, and many more.

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