Seven Ways Student Journalists Can Use Social Media

digital media

I had the opportunity to chat with the staff of the Oregon Daily Emerald about how they can use social media for themselves and the publication.I borrowed liberally from a recent Mashable article, adjusted, modified and expanded it to provide a handful of tips for student journalists.

I would preface all of these with the recommendation to sit down and spend a little time setting some personal and professional goals for yourself. Think about what you want to be known for and what you want people to remember about you. Knowing your goals will help you make intentional decisions about where to spend your time and energy when it comes to social media activities. Consider it a personal mission statement.

  1. Promote your content
    Use your social media network to promote your content. Post your articles/blogs on twitter, your links to YouTube videos on your Facebook page. As long as you’re using social media for more than just promoting your work, then sharing what you’re doing will be welcome by your network.
  2. Newsgathering and research
    This is probably the most obvious. Using  social media to learn more about the issue of the day, your sources, etc. can all be done with social media. I use social media for this purpose everyday and I even have a client who “facebook stalks” her clients to learn more about them (in a good way, I promise).
  3. Crowdsourcing and building source list
    You’ll meet lots of interesting people hanging out on social media, but even cooler? All those people know more people. Use your network to ask questions, find sources and generally do your job better.
  4. Publish more content
    If you’re a student journalist and you don’t have your own blog, your own YouTube channel and your own Flickr profile, you’re missing out on an opportunity to share more of your work than will ever fit in the print edition of your publication.
  5. Integrate blogs & other social content
    Look for ways to integrate your blogs and other social content on your organization’s home page. Different people connect in different ways, let them know where you hang out.
  6. Build a community & share rich content
    Join online groups and networks that make sense for your personal goals and while you’re there, ensure you’re providing rich content. For example, “I’m eating a sandwich” via Twitter is lame. But “Wow! This BLT from Marche Cafe has the most amazing locally-gown heirloom tomatoes” is interesting. This tweet shows you understand your local community and local business (which may be important for your network). But really, the specifics aren’t the point, the point is to think about providing content that says something, not total fluff. Although some fluff is ok sometimes, too.
  7. Personal branding
    Social media can really help you develop a personal brand. Find your niche and show what you know and who you are. Just remember your personal mission statement and goals. What do you want to be known for. And really a solid personal brand comes from having the work to back it up, not just a shiny image. There’s lots to say about this, and I won’t go into too much depth, but you can check out some posts I’ve tagged on the subject or just google it. It’s a hot topic these days.

Some bonus tips:

  • Always be mindful that you represent more than yourself. As a journalist, the stakes are higher.
  • Always be aware of what you put online – it will go further than you think.
  • Experiment!! Try stuff out!

image by the tartanpodcast

Guest Post: Creating the Job You Want

This is a guest post from UofO alum, Sarah Essary. You can follow her at @ConsumingPR.

I like to think of job descriptions as simple suggestions. Coloring outside the lines is perfectly acceptable in the workplace, but only if your art becomes a masterpiece.

Not too long ago, I was hired as a Reservationist at The Citizen Hotel. My job duties included answering the phones, filling reservations, assigning room numbers and routing payments. After a few weeks, I offered to develop the hotel blog and Twitter account. Soon, I proved to be knowledgeable in public relations and took on more responsibilities. Before I knew it, I was launching a social media campaign and taking a dual position as Public Relations Coordinator.

Currently, I am the Reservationist and Public Relations Coordinator for both The Citizen Hotel and Grange Restaurant & Bar. My duties include updating and writing all social media content, handling media inquiries, working with our public relations agency, editing all press materials, coordinating local media outreach, media monitoring and brand awareness, as well as writing and distributing the restaurant newsletter.

Practicing public relations during a dodge ball game is the best way to describe my typical day. It is imperative that I stay on top of all public relations activities while answering the phones at first ring. I may fill 10 reservations while at the same time edit an entire public relations plan.

This dual role is the best way for me to understand the market first hand. I’m in the trenches and the lookout tower all at the same time! It’s fulfilling when customers choose to stay at our hotel after noticing our Web site, news coverage, blog posts or even our Twitter!

As a Reservationist and Public Relations Coordinator, I am able to pitch and position my business with a first-hand understanding of the current market. There is nothing like disseminating a message to media and observing the impact on the target audience. It’s a blessing to have both worlds at my fingertips.

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