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A free summer seminar for experienced high school journalism advisers

From the 23 teachers who attended this workshop in July 2019, we have included Solutions Journalism Story Ideas, other Story Ideas for a whole range of topics and Tech Examples of something they learned, many of these for data visualization, plus some resources anyone can use in the future for these topics.

10 tips to help scholastic journalists engage their audiences on social media

Successful media outlets in the 21st Century need to meet their audiences where they live: Online and, more specifically, on social media.

This was the message delivered by Kevin Necessary, editorial cartoonist for WCPO in Cincinnati, and Tasha Stewart, the station’s senior manager of engagement and next-generation content, during a session Tuesday at Franklin Hall on the campus of Kent State.

This of course applies to scholastic media as well. Here are 10 tips to help high school journalists engage their audiences on social media.

  1. Yes, promoting your work is important, and it’s a good idea to do it more than once and on multiple platforms, since Stewart noted that due to new-fangled algorithms, social media posts now tend to reach just a fraction of your following. Use “fresh language,” as she put it, each time you post.
  2. Live tweeting can be an effective means of coverage. When doing this, add picture and video content to your tweets whenever possible. Tweet with reasonable frequency… which is to say, often enough to report on important developments but not so often that you’re bombarding your audience with constant and unnecessary tweets.
  3. Live stream events. A while back, Periscope was all the rage, but Facebook Live and Instagram have since made live streaming easier and more popular.
  4. Be transparent. Pull back the curtain and let your audience have a glimpse at who you are, what you do, and how you do it. And if you make a mistake, own up to it and correct or clarify it.
  5. Instagram is a great tool for visual content. Take advantage of its stories function, including the “swipe up” feature. Hootsuite recently published a handy set of guidelines for style and branding that could help you up your Insta game. 
  6. Include audience members to take part in your shenanigans and allow them to be part of the show. Encourage them to send you pictures or video clips to include in story packages.
  7. As difficult as it may be, if someone trolls, resist the temptation to respond. That aside, when someone comments, comment back. Be friendly, be playful, make this a two-way social experience rather than a one-way dispensing of content from you to them.
  8. Don’t overlook Facebook. Yes, true, the young’uns aren’t there in the numbers that they used to be, but alumni, parents, and community members certainly are. Keep an eye out for pages related to your school or community, too, and consider sharing your posts there.
  9. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all have built-in analytics to help you track the consumers of your content. Also consider investigating Hotjar (strange name, yes, I know), an interesting tool that can tell you exactly where people are clicking on your website… and even how far down they read your stories on their mobile devices.
  10. Encourage your journalists to have fun. Be funny. Play around. Actively engage your audience. The more fun you have with it, the more fun your readership will have with it. Many of our student journalists are used to having rules 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Great job, Bill! You’re really on top of this!

  2. Wow, Bill…. I’m so glad you were able to pull this together! Good job. 🙂 🙂 🙂