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JA Resource Q&A: A social strategy of “purpose and intention”

October 22, 2012 in Blog, Community, Distribution

Former journalist Kimberly Wilson started SocialNewsDesk to tailor social media management to the quirks of a newsroom. She wanted to solve three problems she saw in newsrooms social media management: organization, security and setting goals. 

Journalism Accelerator

What are the biggest challenges for news organizations juggling multiple social media platforms? In the ever-changing, character-limited continuum of Twitter and Facebook, what ways can you most effectively build your business, organize your system, engage your audience with information that is useful to them, maintain internal confidentiality and synchronize the work of your team?

To understand how deliberate systematization can optimize your social media presence on a large or small scale, we invited SocialNewsDesk founder Kimberly Wilson and social media curator Cynthia Parkhill to share their expertise and experience. It’s part of our regular series of live conversations showcasing resources that offer support to the journalism community.  Read the rest of this entry →


October 12, 2012 in Community, Resources

SocialNewsDesk is a social media solution built by news people, for news people. SocialNewsDesk, Inc. creates and sells Social Media Solutions for Newsrooms. From specialized web-based applications to serve as an in-house management tool for Facebook and Twitter, to customized Facebook tabs, Facebook game-applications, and ongoing consultation on social media strategy and best practices for local television news organizations.” Source: Social News Desk

As producers, we get bogged down with stuff to do, so one of the biggest features we like about SND is the ability to schedule posts. We also like the reminders from the product that tell us when it’s been a while since we’ve posted. And because this time is customizable, it works for any newsroom. Additionally, it helps us manage all of our talent pages – from the main station page to anchor and reporter pages. On Twitter, you can see what’s trending. On Facebook, you can see how much TRUE interaction there is with content — not just number of fans. It helps us know what our realistic reach is — not just the idealistic total fan count. Influence is better than raw numbers. Station managers can leave us notes within the product and if we forget to post a picture or link or even spell check, it reminds us before posting. You can even create quizzes for fans to take — with “hints” all linking back to pages on the station website, meaning page clicks. There are also customizable ad opportunities.” Source: The Buyer’s Guide Discussion For Social Media Management Software

Ten hot ethical challenges facing political reporting in 2012

September 28, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Gregory Korte

USA Today reporter Gregory Korte tells the crowd at the 2012 Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop why he sometimes agrees to quote approval. Credit: Kent State University

Journalism Accelerator

“The values of journalism are under pressure.” With that remark, Kelly McBride of The Poynter Institute set the stage for “Dirty Politics,” the 2012 ethics workshop at Kent State University.

Here are ten hot ethical challenges in political coverage that emerged from the workshop. Join in the series of online conversations exploring ways to handle them. Bring your questions! Bring your experience! Help uncover ethical issues in political coverage that require clarity to provide the accurate reporting people deserve to inform their vote. Read the rest of this entry →

10 Best Practices for Twitter for Journalists

September 10, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become part of a reporter’s toolkit. Yet research shows that media outlets and journalists tend to approach these Web 2.0 services with a 1.0 mindset.

In an attempt to help newsrooms, journalism professors Susana Herrera and José Luis Requejo have put together a list of 10 best practice guidelines for using Twitter…

For the guidelines, the scholars looked at the academic research on Twitter and studied the official accounts of leading news outlets such as The New York Times, the BBC, The Washington Post and National Public Radio.

The 10 best practices they identified are:

  1. Have a voice that is credible and reliable, but also personal and human
  2. Be generous in retweets and credit others
  3. Link to external material rather than simply broadcast your own content
  4. Listen and respond to others
  5. Provide information that adds value
  6. Seek out the views of users
  7. Promote the most interesting and useful content for audiences
  8. Use hashtags created by the Twitter community
  9. Include multimedia with tweets
  10. Link to other networks where a conversation is happening, such as Facebook”


Verify U.S. Federal Government Social Media Accounts

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

There are thousands of social media accounts claiming to be associated with the federal government, but how do you know which are real? It’s relatively easy to set up a Twitter account or Facebook profile claiming government connections that aren’t real.

Officials at the General Services Administration want to to aid citizens with a new tool to allow them to find out if a given account is legit.

Available on, GSA’s Social Media Registry supports more than 20 of the most common social media platforms. Its main purpose is three-fold:

The public will be able to verify that a social media account is run by the government, or spot a fake.

The registry will help manage all these accounts governmentwide by offering application programming interfaces that allow agencies to get data about their agencies.

Finally, the registry serves as a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for different solutions for each agency.

The database is build in Ruby on Rails — an open-source web framework — and officials said the code that powers the registry is open source and available on GitHub. Officials said they teamed with industry partners such as Sunlight Labs, Code for America and Expert Labs to make the registry open and sharable…

Only accounts of official U.S. government agencies, organizations or programs will be tracked by the registry. Government employees will be able to register accounts managed by federal agencies, elected officials, members of the president’s cabinet and heads of agencies. No personal, employee or other types of social media accounts will be included.” Source: Federal Computer Week

Truth in the Age of Social Media

August 13, 2012 in Craft, Resources

The new issue of Nieman Reports includes an exhaustive cover package about the craft of verification.

The issue includes contributions from journalists with Associated Press, the BBC, CNN, and Storyful, among other outlets. Incoming New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan also contributed a piece.

The articles deliver advice, case studies and insight into what it’s like to verify information flowing in from social networks and a multitude of other sources.

I was honored to write an introductory essay for the package. I attempted to outline some of the challenges and opportunities presented by today’s decentralized, democratized and socialized media world…

Reading through the different articles, I was struck by how much of the advice overlapped; the verification advice from the BBC’s User Generated Content Hub, Storyful’s Mark Little, AP’s Santiago Lyon and CNN iReport’s Lila King all hit similar points.

That’s a good thing.

It suggests that, even amid the rapidly changing world of journalism and citizen media, there are new best practices being applied across newsrooms. We have a sense of what’s working, and a productive way to do this work.

As a result, this issue’s collection of checklists, case studies and other tips is something of a blueprint for journalists looking to build their skills in this area, or organizations trying to establish policies and procedures for vetting information. It’s a state of the art crib sheet of best practices.

One key piece of advice for verifying user generated content that’s repeated over and over again may seem obvious but is too often ignored: always contact the person who uploaded or provided the material. In other words, check the source as much as the information…

Another theme in the package is uncertainty. Verification may seem like an exact science, but it usually comes down to collecting as much information as possible and practicing triangulation to make an informed decision. There is always the risk that you make the wrong call, or act too soon. Errors are a constant concern, and a fact of life.”
Source: Poynter’s Regret the Error


July 27, 2012 in Resources, Technology

What’s it all about?

Followerwonk is essentially a Twitter research tool. It lets you search specific Twitter bios for key words or urls. You can see who your followers are following, what lists they are on and who has the most influence, and do the same with the followers of other accounts. You can compare specific Twitter accounts for common followers and essentially get to grips with your audience.

How does it work?

This is an online tool that you can begin using straight away:

1. Sign in using an existing twitter account.

2. Type in the account(s) that you wish to compare OR Type in the keywords that you wish to search for within Twitter profiles.

There is a basic free version that you don’t have to login for, or a subscription service that will give you more analysis of the data. The subscription service works on a pay as you go basis…There is also a third option of earning or building up credits by logging in and performing certain tasks.” Source: Waltzing Matilida

One of my very favorite parts of this tool is the ability to search for twitter users by keyword and compare them based on different metrics (influence, followers, following, age, etc). In practice, if you were looking to connect with authoritative social media bloggers to promote your content, this tool will let your search, sort, and download them based on the keywords you selected. You can also follow them on Twitter right from the application. Followerwonk also shows you if your account is following the selected twitter profiles or if they are following you.

Once you have selected a short-list of highly authoritative and relevant bloggers, or websites, you can dive deeper into their twitter statistics and then start to analyze their followers (or whom they are following) to help narrow down cream of the crop. There are a ton of metrics to take into account such as the average age, language of their followers, and how active and authoritative they are.” Source: Web Talent Marketing

JA Interview: Fresh ideas for publishers from beyond the usual suspects. The promise of real-time storytelling to up community donation and profitability

July 25, 2012 in Blog, Community, Revenue

AJ LeonAJ Leon, co-founder of the creative marketing company Misfit, Inc., opens up to the possibilities in Kaniche, Malawi.
Courtesy Misfit, Inc.

Journalism Accelerator

Last week, Robert Burns Nixon, CFO of the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance, highlighted here several fashion industry best practices that might work well in publishing too. For example, getting direct feedback on concepts before going into full production, and holding trademarked events.

For more business insights from beyond the usual suspects, we invited AJ Leon, co-founder of Misfit, Inc. to, as Robert did, read the JA forums on local and niche news held earlier this year and respond. AJ offers insights where he sees promise for publishers to gain greater revenue, deepen connections and capitalize on the power of immediacy. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Misfit, Inc., started because it fulfilled a dream. AJ and Melissa Leon wanted to travel. They also wanted to do creative work for causes they support. So AJ left banking and Melissa left teaching. Slowly but steadily, they built a business that develops creative media campaigns all over the world. They are dipping into publishing now too, with a planned e-guide to renting out your home using Air BNB and a new multimedia arts journal. Before offering thoughts on business approaches he’s taken that might be useful to publishers, AJ found plenty to learn in the JA conversations on sustaining local and niche news. Read the rest of this entry →

New Media Toolkit

July 13, 2012 in Craft, Education, Resources

New tools are emerging every day for telling stories, engaging audiences and monitoring online impact. How can nonprofits and ethnic and community news organizations use these tools to their advantage? How can beginners sort through the overwhelming volume of all the different available technologies? And how can those wishing to improve their digital skills find the best resources?

The Renaissance Journalism Center curated this comprehensive collection of tools, tutorials and resources to help you navigate the often confusing and intimidating world of online media. The site was designed specifically for those working at small to medium-sized nonprofits and community and ethnic news organizations, as a way to help you jump-start your efforts in social media, video, audio, blogging, and monitoring and metrics. The site is intended to serve as an accessible gateway for beginners, with plenty of resources and tips for those ready to advance their skills and knowledge.” Source: New Media Toolkit

How to Use Twitter for Business: An Introductory Guide

June 15, 2012 in Community, Resources, Revenue, Technology

People are in more control over how they consume media and what messages they care to hear…

This changing nature of consumers‘ shopping habits means that instead of continuing to push marketing messages out, effective marketers must adapt to consumers‘ new behavior by creating marketing campaigns that pull people in to their business. This strategy is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketers offer useful information, tools, and resources to attract people to their business
and its website, while also interacting and developing relationships with consumers on the web. The three key inbound marketing tools are blogging and content creation, search engine optimization, and social media marketing.

Twitter is one of the most powerful social networks for your business…

Twitter is a relationship-building and relationship maintenance tool; the most obvious business use of Twitter is to meet potential customers and leads the same way you would at networking event or tradeshow.

However, You Can Also Use it To:

  1. Develop and promote your brand
  2. Interact with your customer base
  3. Track what people are saying about your company and brand
  4. Create buzz around upcoming events
  5. Help individual employees act as liaisons to the public
  6. Promote other content you‘ve created, including webinars, blog posts or podcasts
  7. Develop direct relationships with bloggers and journalists for potential PR placement
  8. Generate sales leads for your business

Source: How to Use Twitter for Business: An Introductory Guide