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Summer Camp: John O’Connor’s Social Media Secrets

We recently persuaded John O’Connor, StateImpact Florida education reporter and social media extraordinaire, to share some of his tips and tricks with us. He put together a list of key take-aways, below, for those of you who weren’t able to join us.

  • Not all social media is equal. Take advantage of the strengths of different sites. Twitter is what’s happening now. It’s great for publishing and promotion, but also a good way to find sources, activists and trends. Use Facebook to share things that might spark a conversation. LinkedIn is great for finding people who worked or work for specific companies or organizations.
  • Twitter is the most useful social media service, but it needs to be tamed. Use TweetDeck, HootSuite or a similar tool to bend it to your will.
  • Remember that social media is a conversation. You have to engage with others to get the most out of it.
  • Use social media to tell stories. People love to live-tweet events. Compile those tweets with Storify, but be a journalist and organize and add context to tell a story.

Social Media: Beyond Self-Promotion

In this webinar, we share ways to use social media (including Twitter, Facebook and Reddit) to engage with your core communities. We break down simple ways you can tweak the work you are already doing to maximize your social media presence. And we’ll share how other reporters—including your StateImpact brethren—are using social media to inform stories and promote their work.

StateImpact Webinar: Social Media For Reporters from StateImpact on Vimeo.

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StateImpact Style: Setting up your Facebook and Twitter accounts

These are the instructions to get the pretty StateImpact look on your Twitter and Facebook pages.


1. Log out.
2. Select “Create a page” link below the “Sign Up” button.
3. Select “Media/News/Publishing” under category.
4. Type “StateImpact FullStateName”
5. Check “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms,” and click “Get Started”
6. Click “I already have a Facebook account,” and fill out the form using your own Facebook account login info.
7. Add this profile image
8. Select ‘Edit Info’ under Page name

  • Basic info: Name, founded, city/state.
  • About: “A collaboration of local public media and NPR with a focus on XyXy.”
  • Description: “StateImpact [State Name] is a collaboration between XySTATION, XySTATION, XySTATION and NPR. Reporters XyXy and XyXy cover state government with a focus on [coverage area]. Read our reports online, and hear us on public radio stations across [state].”
  • Add xyxy@stateimpact.org
  • Phone (optional)
  • http://stateimpact.npr.org/xyxy

9. Manage permissions

  • Profanity Blocklist: Medium

10. Your Settings

  • Deselect email notification

11. Add stateimpact@gmail.com under “Manage Admins” in the left navigation.

12. Add a post! Important: This is the headline style (‘We’ve Got a Budget Framework’) | By Scott Detrow’). Just double click on the headline to enable you to edit it. Same with story summaries, which should be tightened up. Feel free to add commentary, like “Announcement came from Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s Twitter account…”


1. Login:

  • Username: StateImpactPA, StateImpactIN, StateImpactFL
  • Password: whatever you choose, send it to stateimpact@gmail.com

2. Change Settings > Profile

  • Add this profile image
  • Change name: “StateImpact [full state name]”
  • Set location: City, State
  • Add SI blog address
  • Bio: “StateImpact [full state name] is a collaboration of local public media and @NPR, covering state government with a focus on [XyXy].”
  • Save changes

3. Change Settings > Design

  • Add this background image
  • Check “tile background”
  • Change design colors
  • Background (1e2b36)
  • Text (333333)
  • Links (164a7a)
  • Sidebar (d6d6d6)
  • Sidebar border (8a8a8a)
  • Save changes


Questions? jpupovac@npr.org