(Not So) Basic Journalism Skills: Master Social Media in 3 Easy Steps

by - August 02, 2016

In the past decade, the news business has changed tremendously thanks to the explosion of social media. Sixty-two percent of American adults get their news on social media, with 18 percent doing so often. A majority of those people are getting their news on Facebook (66% of users) and Twitter (59% of users), and most are getting their news from one site. With that being said, social media is one of the biggest struggles my newsroom faces on a day-to-day basis.

What I've noticed over the past two to three years is that new reporters have no issue navigating the world of social media, but when it comes to their work pages the posts are few and far between. Some don't know what to post; others don't know when to post; and most all of them do not post enough.

But not to worry. I've put together a basic three-step guide to help you on your journey to social media success.

1. Post a picture of your story along with a short caption to social media.

2. Post a brief story on your station's website, along with a picture, and share that to social media *before your story airs.*

3. Flesh out your web story, adding video, photos, etc. and share to social media.

This is the simplest, most low-maintenance way to be successful with social media. Of course, the more you post and the more you interact with your followers, the more people will like, share, and retweet your stories, thus increasing your audience.

For other tips, check out this helpful guide published by the American Society of News Editors. Also, these 8 Key Takeaways about Social Media and News from journalism.org.

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  1. Hi, Ashton!

    I was a reporter and producer from 1971 to 1984. For someone like me it is hard to imagine adapting to the ever changing social media landscape. I read the 10 Best Practices list and the 8 Key Takeaways article. The impression I get is that most social media subscribers are not using the site to search for news. Instead they are exposed to news while they are using the site for other reasons. Moreover, the types of news ranked highest on social media are entertainment and sports. World and national news and local stories rank lower. I agree that an individual reporter can help him or herself and the station by using social media responsibly, maintaining a presence, posting and updating content often and interacting with followers in a friendly, professional manner.

    Thanks, Ashton, and enjoy the rest of your week!

    1. You are correct, Shady. As a whole, people aren't actively searching for news on social media sites. However, my viewers tend to buck national trends when it comes to news. I don't know if I have the words to adequately describe how invested our viewers are in our product. It blows my mind!