In one of the emails wishing me success in my job search came some questions from a young reporter. I enjoy few thing more here than answering journalists’ questions, and I much prefer that to writing about myself.
So here’s the question:
How do you think journalists can network with other reporters effectively in the digital age?
For instance, I’m interested in working at a number of different outlets in the future, from alt-weeklies to dailies to online media. I’d love to connect with reporters and editors at those outlets, but it’s harder to ask that reporter to chat with you over coffee when you’re miles and miles away.
Do you have any advice for how to cultivate that digital relationship with other journalists?
Yes, I have advice for cultivating digital relationships with journalists: (more…)
Rick Mills, editor of the Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., shared an important Facebook lesson with me this afternoon (added links and updated a bit):
You always think it’s the big stuff, the breaking news… but I posted something today about a popular local restaurant closing. Since then we’ve got 70 new followers, it’s been seen by more than 15,000 people, 69 have commented.
Lesson: It’s not always about tragedy. It’s about community, about the people we cover and the things they do. But I guess we already knew that.
The Morning Sun, by the way, is one of our newsrooms that has a bigger audience on Facebook than in the morning newspaper. Weekday print circulation is about 7,000. Sunday is over 8,000. Facebook fans topped 10,300 today.
Note in the screengrab above that the post has been shared more than 200 times. “Likes” aren’t very high (probably because it’s bad news and Facebook hasn’t added a “dislike” option yet).
When I saw Jeff Edelstein‘s music video about New Jersey’s controversial bridge and learned how he crowdsourced it, I asked him to explain. Here’s a guest post from the Trentonian columnist (I added the links, illustrations and embeds):
Thanks to Buffy Andrews for this guest post, which discusses different ways to promote your work. Buffy’s promoting her new novel (congratulations on getting that published, Buffy!), but you could use some of the same tools to promote an enterprise project, a special story, an event or your own career and portfolio of work.
Here’s Buffy’s post, with a note by me in italics.
When my debut novel, The Yearbook Series: Gina and Mike, was published, I shared the news via various digital platforms. Of course, I did the usual Twitter and Facebook, but I also employed some other tools that you might not be quite as familiar with.
I love RebelMouse. It’s a great way to aggregate content from your social streams, including Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, blogs etc.
I created a RebelMouse page for “The Yearbook Series.”
One way to share content about your book is to share the pin via Twitter or Facebook. You can also share the pin by sending it to friends and followers by hitting the “send” button and then adding either their name or email address. It also gives you the option of adding a message.
I did this for “The Yearbook Series” and added a note that I was sharing my new book and that I hoped they would check it out. Of course, the pin linked to the book on Amazon.
A Pinterest board for your book could include:
The book cover
Quotes from your book
You might even want to pin photos that relate to your character (ie. the little black dress she wore in Chapter 8 or the hotel where she married in Chapter 24).
Buttry note: My wife, Mimi Johnson, created a Pinboard to promote her novel, Gathering String. She did not use quotes or review snippets (though she might steal that idea). But she did pin photos and other images that illustrated aspects of the book.
TIP: To convert text to an image, I suggest using Quozio. You simply highlight the text and after several simple steps you have a visual element to pin (or tweet or share otherwise).
I recommend dragging the Quozio bookmarket to your toolbar so when you want to change text into an image you can do so quickly.
Remember, too, that if you do an rss feed of your Pinterest board on your RebelMouse page, the content on this pinboard will show up on RebelMouse automatically.
Storify lets users create stories using social media. Sources include Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube, Tumblr, SoundCloud and others.
You can embed your Storify in three different formats or styles (the default setting, grid and slideshow). I use the slideshow embed the most.
You can also export the Storify as a downloadable PDF. And you have the normal social share buttons.
Demand verification. Ask frequently, “How do you know that?” Then ask, “How else do you know that?” (I’m not sure which journalist first started stressing the first question, but I first heard the “How else …” question from Rosalie Stemer.)
This post starts a series for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms. Some of the advice might be good for veteran editors, too, and for editors in other companies.
Listening should be one of an editor’s most important skills and priorities.
Editors needed to be good listeners when I started in the news business more than 40 years ago, when we were still melting lead to set type. Listening was essential when I first became editor of the Minot Daily News in 1992, when the digital revolution for newsrooms was just around the next bend. And it was even more important when I became editor of the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 2008, as social media was causing a second (or third; I think I’m losing track) digital revolution for newsrooms. It still remains one of an editor’s most important jobs, but we have some great listening tools that weren’t available before.
A good editor listens to the staff and to the community. You don’t necessarily follow all the advice you hear or act on all the complaints you hear (or bask in the praise), but you need to hear what the community and the staff are saying. You need to know what your staff thinks about your leadership and your decisions. You need to know what the community thinks of your content. You need to know what your staff is proud of and embarrassed of and concerned about. You need to know what your community is laughing at and angry about.
You don’t just need to know what the community is saying about you and your news products, though. You need to know what people are saying about the news and community affairs. Has a story that’s hot in the coffee shops and Facebook discussions escaped your staff’s notice because it doesn’t fit in your beat structure (or because someone is not covering a beat well)? Is your community confused about an issue you are reporting or should be reporting? Has the community grown tired of an issue? You should know. (more…)
I led a workshop Tuesday at the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa., for engagement editors in the Pennsylvania cluster of Digital First Media.
(The cluster actually includes the Trentonian and some weeklies in New Jersey, but the editor planning to come from the Trentonian had to cancel. And it includes the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia, but they watched the livestream rather than making the long drive to join us in person.)
Thanks (again) to all the participants and to Mandy Jenkins, Ivan Lajara, Buffy Andrews, Diane Hoffman and Vince Carey, who helped me lead it.
If you participated in the workshop, I don’t recommend going through all this at once. I asked you in the workshop to choose one or two things to do this week. I’d read the links and/or re-watch the slides related to those one or two things. And then move on next week to the thing(s) you decided to try next week. I encourage digging into a single topic rather than trying to absorb everything at once.
Community fun is a good way to engage on Facebook.
Wanda Murren, Managing Editor/Digital Media at The Evening Sun in Hanover, Pa., reports on the success of the post shown above:
I think we’ve broken some sort of world record with our FB post yesterday previewing the Treat’s season opening. OK, maybe not a world record, but it’s almost certainly an ES record. I remember some big reactions, but nothing like this. We were amazed all day long at how the numbers were taking off. (more…)
In 20 hours, more than 1,000 people shared that on their Facebook walls, more than 3,000 people liked it (nearly as many as like the Macomb Daily) and more than 600 have commented (the combined totals have gone up by more than 200 just since I grabbed that screen grab and started writing). The numbers above don’t show this, but Maryanne reports that more than 84,000 people have looked at the photo.
Resuming the original post: This isn’t the first time I’ve shared a success story with remember-when photos from the Macomb Daily’s Facebook page. In my post on Facebook engagement tips last October, I noted a photo of the Plum Pit that went viral with more than 11,000 likes. (more…)
I led a workshop on using social media today for the Daily Times in Farmington, N.M. We won’t cover Twitter today (except for some comparisons with Facebook) because I’ll be doing a workshop on Twitter tomorrow.
Update: The runaway winner for the best Digital First Valentine’s engagement project is the Saratogian, with The Crazy Things We Do for Love. The Saratogian won 365 votes out of 750 votes cast, or 49 percent, a landslide in a 10-way race. A box of Valentine’s candy will be shipped out today to the new (and obviously successful engagement editor Aubree Cutkomp for the newsroom to share.
A second-place box will go out to the Reporter-Herald, which got 133 votes or 18 percent. Defending champion Smart magazine in York, Pa., got 78 votes, just over 10 percent. Thanks to all the newsrooms who participated, and congratulations on lots of successful engagement. Scroll down to read about the winning projects and the rest.
Here’s the original post: As lovers prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Digital First newsrooms are engaging their communities in romance and fun.
Last year, I sent off boxes of Valentine’s candy to the York Daily Record and the Morning Sun to reward their Valentine’s engagement, voted the best by readers of my blog. I was probably going to let the holiday slide by without note here, but Jessica Benes of the Reporter-Herald in Loveland, Colo., asked if I was going to reprise the contest. So I asked my colleagues to send me their accounts of what they were doing. I’ll let them make their pitches here (in the order submitted, with light editing).
After you’ve read them, please scroll back up here to vote. Again, the winning newsroom gets a Priority Mail box stuffed with Valentine’s candy.
It’s too late for you to compete for the candy if you’re not listed here, but it’s probably not too late to steal one of these ideas (give credit, please, as Jennifer Connor did in the final entry here) for some Valentine’s fun this week.
I am the Lamar Visiting Scholar at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication. I have been an editor, reporter and writing coach for Digital First Media, TBD.com, seven community and metro newspapers. I spent three years doing research, teaching and writing for the American Press Institute. I have pursued my journalism career in 44 states, nine Canadian provinces, Ireland, Venezuela, Mexico, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Siberia, France and Italy.