A social media primer for h.s. journos

For the second straight year, I’m talking about how high school journalists can use social media to find, report, distribute and promote news. I’m presenting “Stories From And For ‘Followers’ and ‘Friends'” at the Georgia Scholastic Press Association fall conference, here in Athens, Ga.
I wanted to primarily use this blog post as a resource to those students and advisors who attend the talk. You can access the presentation and follow some of the links to items I mention here. Also, feel free to continue the discussion  of how social media can work for your high school newspaper.
Handheld Journalism blogger Joshua Wilwohl makes the point that Facebook and Twitter are ideal tools for news aggregation and audience interaction for high school news outlets.

Paper.li has a neat feature that allows you to turn your twitter stream into a daily newspaper.  This would be a nice supplemental tool for high school newspapers that publish infrequently. 

High school organizations should also pay attention to how professional newspapers are using social media.  The Washington Post’s use of the #wherewereyou tag to solicit user feedback for its coverage of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was simply brilliant.

News breaks on Twitter now, with the Discovery shooting that happened earlier this month just the latest example.

As one veteran Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter, who must routinely tweet as part of her daily job responsibilities, puts it, social media “is as critical to the publication as it is to the individual reporter. (It) shows ambition, competitiveness, etc.”

Don’t think journalists are using Twitter?  If you don’t believe me, check out the MediaonTwitter database to get a feel for how pervasive the use of Twitter has become in journalism.

And news is becoming an integral component of social media too.  Of course, Facebook is already known for its personalized “news” feed.  With a #newtwitter coming soon, news will become an even more prevalent feature of social media, as this excellent Nieman Lab post points out.

So whether you love social media or hate it, journalists are expected to use these tools in their reporting.  I strongly suggest high school journalists to do the same since their future employers expect this.


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