March 3, 2009

How to use social media in the newsroom

newspapers-illustration

JD LasicaI‘m working with the vaunted Poynter Institute to put together an online class for senior newspaper executives on how to use social media in the newsroom.

One of our goals here at Socialmedia.biz is to cut across silos to get marketing people, journalists, businesses and strategists all talking to and learning from each other about creative uses of social media. In the end, we’ll all benefit from best practices, regardless of whether they originated in a newsroom, a startup or a blogger’s home office.

For the Knight Digital Media Center program conducted through the Poynter, I’ll likely be giving a webinar and taking part in online instruction around how journalists are already using the tools of social media. So we’d love to see some specific examples of how you’re using social media (aside from blogs), or examples of how other sites are using it in a way that could be applied to news sites.

In search of examples

Here’s what we’re curious about:

• Do you use Twitter to interact with your readers? How? Do they offer story ideas, tips, interview questions?

• Any examples of how Facebook is being used by journalists?

• What about Google Maps mashups, like you see on Everyblock (and formerly chicagocrime.org)?

newspapers-that-use-twitter• What about interacting with users on video hosting sites like YouTube, Vimeo or other online communities outside of your own?

• NewWest.net uses Flickr photo galleries on their site. Anyone else?

• Any innovative examples of user-created content, especially video or podcasts? How do you generate content from social networks?

• Would love to hear examples of interesting news widgets that spotlight news feeds.

• Have any journalists had success with using social news sites like Digg, NowPublic, Reddit?

• Anything else you use: LinkedIn? wikis? delicious? Creative Commons? online petitions or campaigns?

• What social networks or groups do you use (besides #journchat) to interact with other journalists about social media?

• And finally, do you use any online resources for your social media needs?

Answer any of these, or add other examples, in the comments below. Anyone can answer, not just Big J journalists. (Or feel free to send a private email.) I’ll contact the journalists or organizations using these tools and incorporate the examples into the webinar (scheduled for May 12) and let you know how to see it. Social media consultant Paul Gillin, Michele McLellan and Vikki Porter, director of the Knight Digital Media Center at USC Annenberg, are some of the others involved in this project.

Note: We’re dealing with disappearing comments on this post. Still trying to find the cause.

JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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  • Great stuff J.D. I highly recommend checking out BeatBlogging.org. I used to be involved in it – but haven't been for almost a year now. But the whole concept of it is seeing how we can use social media tools not just to socialize – but to improve beat reporting. There are some GREAT examples in it over the past year.

  • I work at a Toronto paper called the Globe and Mail, where I’m the online communities editor, and we’ve been using Twitter a lot to connect with readers, as well as some other tools — including a great live-blogging app called Cover It Live, which we’ve used for the federal budget, the Obama inauguration and a recent subway shooting in Toronto. We’ve also been experimenting with a wiki called the Public Policy Wiki (http://policywiki.theglobeandmail.com). Happy to talk about any of that in more detail.

  • JD – nice project. Good luck.

    In Phoenix, the good kids at ValleyPRblog (http://www.valleyprblog.com) have written about journos and their twitter connections – worth a read for various viewpoints – Post is here: http://www.valleyprblog.com/pitching/pitching-on-

    Also, they've posted up a PHX journos-on-Twitter list here:
    http://www.valleyprblog.com/resources/phoenix-med

    Hope that helps!

  • David, thanks, I've been a fan of BeatBlogging.org for a long time so will go back and take a look. Matthew and Dave, thanks for your suggestions as well.

  • JD – I like this project a lot! I am doing a workshop this weekend at the Nevada Interactive Media conference in Reno on social media apps and attitudes for journalists. Tell you what – I will share my presentation materials with you and then send the attendees over here to comment afterwards, OK?
    yours in the vast collaborative Interwebs

    • CharlotteAnne, looking forward to seeing the output of this. Thanks for sharing!

  • I think planning for future tools belongs on this list: identifying events and locations in your stories so that many feeds can pick them up; best practices for accessibility that pay off in unexpected ways.

  • Kim

    My company, The Loop 21, is doing a lot of things that you're wondering about. We're not backed by any big media, we're a grassroots company.

    I'm the web editor and coming from traditional media (I used to work with McClatchy) it's refreshing to be at a very innovative environment. We do a lot of data visualization and we have a facebook
    page and twitter. We're using facebook to provide a personal look at what we're doing every day. I also talk to readers through Twitter. We're starting to throw extra photos on flickr, the photos from events
    that we don't use on the site, as well as insights as to who is running the site.

    We do news and commentary, but we have a user generated section of the site that is doing quite well. It's called Speak Out.

    In terms of social media, I promote like I do as a blogger: stumble, faebook links, reddit, yahoo buzz ,etc. SU and reddit have worked pretty well for us, but Facebook in particular is working. We use our individual accounts to promote our stories and events, in addition to the fan page we have.

    We're working with Covenant of Black America and others to provide content. We do a lot of content sharing, which helps other small news orgs like us.

    I think we're struggling like a lot of media, but I think our attitude to trying new open source applications is serving us really well. Personally, I think new media has saved my career after getting laid off last year. My skills as a web producer kept me in a job. I use Twitter a lot to talk to other producers and I'm now a member of ONA. I want to keep learning from others. I'm pretty much self taught, so every day is a classroom for me.

  • Great stuff J.D. I highly recommend checking out BeatBlogging.org. I used to be involved in it – but haven't been for almost a year now. But the whole concept of it is seeing how we can use social media tools not just to socialize – but to improve beat reporting. There are some GREAT examples in it over the past year.

  • I work at a Toronto paper called the Globe and Mail, where I’m the online communities editor, and we’ve been using Twitter a lot to connect with readers, as well as some other tools — including a great live-blogging app called Cover It Live, which we’ve used for the federal budget, the Obama inauguration and a recent subway shooting in Toronto. We’ve also been experimenting with a wiki called the Public Policy Wiki (http://policywiki.theglobeandmail.com). Happy to talk about any of that in more detail.

  • JD – nice project. Good luck.

    In Phoenix, the good kids at ValleyPRblog ( ” target=”_blank”>http://www.valleyprblog.com) have written about journos and their twitter connections – worth a read for various viewpoints – Post is here: http://www.valleyprblog.com/pitching/pitching-on-

    Also, they've posted up a PHX journos-on-Twitter list here:
    http://www.valleyprblog.com/resources/phoenix-med

    Hope that helps!

  • jdlasica

    David, thanks, I've been a fan of BeatBlogging.org for a long time so will go back and take a look. Matthew and Dave, thanks for your suggestions as well.

  • CharlotteAnne

    JD – I like this project a lot! I am doing a workshop this weekend at the Nevada Interactive Media conference in Reno on social media apps and attitudes for journalists. Tell you what – I will share my presentation materials with you and then send the attendees over here to comment afterwards, OK?
    yours in the vast collaborative Interwebs

    • jdlasica

      CharlotteAnne, looking forward to seeing the output of this. Thanks for sharing!

  • I think planning for future tools belongs on this list: identifying events and locations in your stories so that many feeds can pick them up; best practices for accessibility that pay off in unexpected ways.

  • Kim

    My company, The Loop 21, is doing a lot of things that you're wondering about. We're not backed by any big media, we're a grassroots company.

    I'm the web editor and coming from traditional media (I used to work with McClatchy) it's refreshing to be at a very innovative environment. We do a lot of data visualization and we have a facebook
    page and twitter. We're using facebook to provide a personal look at what we're doing every day. I also talk to readers through Twitter. We're starting to throw extra photos on flickr, the photos from events
    that we don't use on the site, as well as insights as to who is running the site.

    We do news and commentary, but we have a user generated section of the site that is doing quite well. It's called Speak Out.

    In terms of social media, I promote like I do as a blogger: stumble, faebook links, reddit, yahoo buzz ,etc. SU and reddit have worked pretty well for us, but Facebook in particular is working. We use our individual accounts to promote our stories and events, in addition to the fan page we have.

    We're working with Covenant of Black America and others to provide content. We do a lot of content sharing, which helps other small news orgs like us.

    I think we're struggling like a lot of media, but I think our attitude to trying new open source applications is serving us really well. Personally, I think new media has saved my career after getting laid off last year. My skills as a web producer kept me in a job. I use Twitter a lot to talk to other producers and I'm now a member of ONA. I want to keep learning from others. I'm pretty much self taught, so every day is a classroom for me.

  • JD Lasica

    We were having problems with the comments on this post all day yesterday but it appears that they've been solved. Just fyi.

  • At the Guardian, we're using social media in a number of ways. Just yesterday, Matt Weaver on our news desk highlighted the tweets from members of Congress during and immediately after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's address: http://bit.ly/hHBTB

    All he had to do is favourite the tweets he thought were interesting, and they automatically displayed on the page. Jemima Kiss, our digital content reporter, and Charles Arthur, Bobbie Johnson and Jack Schofield on our technology team, all twitter, using it to promote their own content, flag up interesting stories to their followers and even do twitter interviews.

    Building on real-time reporting and aggregation that I did during the US elections using Twitter, including using Twitpic and Twitter to report from the celebrations in Washington on election night, we now have a feature called Tweet the People: http://bit.ly/e4wPr We ask daily questions of our readers in the US on our US politics blog, Deadline USA, and also in Twitter.

    Our Travel team has started a feature called Twittrip, where they take travel tips from their Twitter followers in real-time. Benji Lanyado came up with the idea, and we set him up with the excellent Twibble Twitter client for his phone so he could tweet and upload pics to Twitpic right off his phone. http://bit.ly/E9nCW

    As for Flickr, I used it during a trip across the US. I used Creative Commons licenced photos, but I also posted my photos under Creative Commons. It also allowed me to geo-tag the photos and automatically include location information on Flickr. http://bit.ly/QHWzp We also had a very successful Flickr project called Message to Obama, headed up by our head of communities, Meg Pickard. http://bit.ly/14e416 We also used an on demand printing service to make a book out of the contributions.

    We also did quite a successful experiment using the video conversation service Seesmic to elicit comments about the US elections ahead of the New Hampshire primaries: http://bit.ly/67phZ

    That's just a smattering of what we're doing, but it gives a flavour of some of the ways that we're partnering with Guardian readers.

  • At the Guardian, we're using social media in a number of ways. Just yesterday, Matt Weaver on our news desk highlighted the tweets from members of Congress during and immediately after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's address: http://bit.ly/hHBTB

    All he had to do is favourite the tweets he thought were interesting, and they automatically displayed on the page. Jemima Kiss, our digital content reporter, and Charles Arthur, Bobbie Johnson and Jack Schofield on our technology team, all twitter, using it to promote their own content, flag up interesting stories to their followers and even do twitter interviews.

    Building on real-time reporting and aggregation that I did during the US elections using Twitter, including using Twitpic and Twitter to report from the celebrations in Washington on election night, we now have a feature called Tweet the People: http://bit.ly/e4wPr We ask daily questions of our readers in the US on our US politics blog, Deadline USA, and also in Twitter.

    Our Travel team has started a feature called Twittrip, where they take travel tips from their Twitter followers in real-time. Benji Lanyado came up with the idea, and we set him up with the excellent Twibble Twitter client for his phone so he could tweet and upload pics to Twitpic right off his phone. http://bit.ly/E9nCW

    As for Flickr, I used it during a trip across the US. I used Creative Commons licenced photos, but I also posted my photos under Creative Commons. It also allowed me to geo-tag the photos and automatically include location information on Flickr. http://bit.ly/QHWzp We also had a very successful Flickr project called Message to Obama, headed up by our head of communities, Meg Pickard. http://bit.ly/14e416 We also used an on demand printing service to make a book out of the contributions.

    We also did quite a successful experiment using the video conversation service Seesmic to elicit comments about the US elections ahead of the New Hampshire primaries: http://bit.ly/67phZ

    That's just a smattering of what we're doing, but it gives a flavour of some of the ways that we're partnering with Guardian readers.

  • Hey JD, journalists are increasingly using Twitter for newstips. Here is a story I just posted after reading Jimmy Wales Tweet on the subject: http://www.siliconbeat.com/2009/03/05/jason-calac

  • I'm now publishing a community hyperlocal in Lakeland, Florida. At LakelandLocal.com we have six primary contributors. Three with newspaper experience — though we're all now in other fields. We've also started MetroI4News to cover the I4 corridor, but it is a bit new….

    To answer your #journchat questions:

    (1) We send every article link out through Twitter. I've covered a couple events live where readers sent questions/concerns through Twitter.

    (2) From March 2007 to July 2008, I created a weekly crime map for Lakeland. I used CommunityWalk.com as it was easier to batch load the data.

    I now create weekly and monthly maps of the housing market using the same tool.

    (3) We publish our Lakeland Minutes (60 seconds of unedited video from various Lakeland locations and events) using YouTube and Ustream.

    (4) We also use Flickr photo galleries to feature the work of our photographer, and host the majority of our photos on Flickr

    (5) I use a Twitter account to publish short news reports and notices. I place it on the site with a short piece of code.

    (6) We've always published our work using a Creative Commons copyright.

    (7) I mod #journ2journ and I'm starting #allnewsislocal for community/citizen journalists (hyperlocal, bloggers, etc. Whatever your favorite term…)

  • Ron Casalotti

    BusinessWeek is into Twitter in a big way (with more to come soon!), with journalists, editors and business-side people like me using Twitter extensively. Most recently, we’re getting the word out and interacting with the users of BusinessWeek’s social media business info sharing platform, Business Exchange (http://bx.businesweek.com) using Twitter (@bwbx).

    Here’s a link to a blog post by the EIC of the BusinessWeek.com Web site, John A. Byrne that has more details and lots of links. 'The Twittering Gang at BusinessWeek' http://is.gd/bnNs

  • JD, here is a link to the slideshare where I posted my presentation on Social Media for Journalists at the Nevada Interactive Media Summit at UNR on March 7.
    http://www.slideshare.net/CharlotteAnne/social-me
    There's no audio on the slideshow, but every page where there is an example has a link out to the news organization's site.
    I hope this is helpful and will send a bit more later …
    yours,
    C-A

  • I see that graphicdesignr was tracking 1,360 U.S. newspaper Twitter accounts in February before giving up the project.

  • Albert Maruggi

    I'm be interested to know the following

    1) how many news organizations use multimedia from others, either sound or video to enhance a story

    2) whether journalists really use social media for story ideas or it is still a press kit dominated world pushed by PR people to journalists I cited this recent study by Cision on journalist sources

  • I'm be interested to know the following

    1) how many news organizations use multimedia from others, either sound or video to enhance a story

    2) whether journalists really use social media for story ideas or it is still a press kit dominated world pushed by PR people to journalists I cited this recent study by Cision on journalist sources