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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.

Ways social media can create multiple levels of engagement

The rules of engagement

Building an audience and keeping the reader engaged could be compared to keeping a 2-year-old’s attention for an entire afternoon. 

However Tasha Stewart, a senior manager of engagement and next-generation content at WCPO, Cincinnati is charged with just that. 

And with more and more of America spending time on screens it’s easy to just swipe, glance and repeat. According to Commonsense Media children eight to 18 spend nine hours looking at screens every day. 

“This is a way for us to connect with you, to create a brand affinity,” Stewart said.  

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is in her second year advising The Whirlwind student media staff at West Albany High School in Albany, Oregon and Balmeo Tweeted, “Does it make sense to get rid of the Social Media Editor position or the Public Relations position and instead create an Audience Engagement Director position?”

Balmeo continued and said the shift would be a way to strategically plan multi platform coverage and content.

WCPO Editorial cartoonist Kevin Necessary stressed the importance a fan base and the best way to build a readership and following, and he does this strictly through social media.  

“I’m doing my cartoons as a way of engagement and they live almost entirely on social media,” Necessary said.

Considering 94 percent of teenagers are on social media daily according to a 2014 Pew Research study.

With all of the tools gained Twitter and Instagram can be used almost right away, day one of a publication. Stewart said social media is important and the trick is to find ways for it to be essential to our everyday lives. 

“Engagement doesn’t always have to be news with a hard capital N,” Stewart said.

Ways to utilize Social Media


Twitter || A communication tool to give and receive information

  • Information such as traffic, breaking news, weather, etc. 
  • Crowdsourcing asking for photos, videos, tips, etc.
  • Post Twitter threads to give context to stories 
    • A focus on how did the reporters report
  • Use Twitter to debunk information/fact check
  • Show our human side to for the people to show content

Instagram || Showcase light content and build a brand

  • Show behind the scenes content
  • Visuals of journalists in the field or down time
  • People like to see journalists as real people
  • Sometimes create stand alone content (harder news), tease to other packages in print or web

Instagram Stories || Bigger coverage and fun highlights

  • Big events like election days, rain, back to school
  • Swipe up for a link
  • Incorporate readers opinions with polls
  • Engage by sending a selfie with “I voted” sticker, engage to “like” message
  • Cycle of engagement

Facebook || A limited reach, but rewards engagement

  • Needs reactions and shares to promote content, create conversations and to crowdsource
  • Build FB groups around topics people are interested in (HS sports, food and drink) People can post their own content. To spark a conversation, self populated.
  • Facebook Lives: Cover news, share lives across the country, creative storytelling, to get people to join the conversation. 
  • Social Videos– for social platforms (marriage advice, hot chicken challenge, etc.)






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  1. Quite a comprehensive dive into the topic. Nice work, Kaitlin!

  2. I like your suggestions on how to use each of the social media platforms.

  3. I also like your suggestions on how to use each platform.