social media

Recent posts

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.

2013 NICAR’s Greatest Hits

The annual computer-assisted reporting conference organized by IRE and NICAR is a treasure trove of tips, tools and inspiration. There is always something for just about anyone in the news

Pete Karl II / Flikr

People share notes, experiences and know-how at NICAR and IRE conferences. It's cool like that.

industry–from the old-school newspaperman who won’t send an email to the young, enthusiastic programming geek–and everyone in between.

In fact, if you consider yourself to be very much in between–or maybe even slightly towards the old-school side of things, this post is for you. We’ve sifted through the labyrinth of tipsheets, blog posts and (almost) exhaustive collections of all that was generously shared, referenced or demonstrated at this year’s conference to bring you some of the most useful data-driven reporting tools offerred at this year’s event.

We’ve organized it into seven broad categories:

  1. General CAR Tips & Best Practices from the Pros
  2. Research Tools
  3. Social Media Tools
  4. Data Cleaning
  5. Excel
  6. Inspiration: A Small Collection of some of the Best Data-Driven Stories of 2012 (with a special emphasis on energy, education and economy stories)
  7. Advanced Coursework in Database Analysis, Super Stealth Spy Stuff and Web Scraping

We haven’t tested everything just yet, so if you find any of this particularly useful–or not–please do tell us about it in the comments section or via email.

That said, we hope you’ll find at least some of the collection below as useful and inspiring as we do. Enjoy!

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Promoting Live Events on Social Media

We’ve noticed that many of you have been busy fostering engagement and increasing your profile with community events. We like what we see and we hope to see more of it. To that end,  we thought it could be helpful to corral some ideas–from stations, reporters and elsewhere–to help you get the most out of your events with smart use of online promotion.

Please add any of your own ideas or experiences below. The more the merrier.

Before the Event:

  • Create Facebook-friendly messaging and imagery for your event.   

    This photo used by StateImpact Texas to promote a recent event on that state's fracking boom pretty much said it all.

From Shannon McDonald, Social Media Editor at WHYY: “Try to find a message for your event that works well on social media instead of trying to manipulate something for several platforms… From the beginning, find a message that can work on all fronts. And to that point, make sure anything you design for the event also has images designed specifically for Facebook. That means that whatever images you’re putting out there should also be made to fit the 403×403 pixel size for Facebook posts and the 840×310 pixel size for Facebook cover photos.” 

  •  Create an Event on Facebook.

Invite all of the people who ‘like’ your page, as well as people who you think might be interested. You’ll also want to post additional information, as you get closer to the event to keep it fresh in people’s feeds. Continue reading

Using ScribbleLive For Live Blogging

We’ve decided to start using ScribbleLive for live blogging. It offers many of the same features as our former platform. You can collaborate, pull in outside Tweets or Facebook posts, embed images, video, and other multimedia content.. And you can have a virtually unlimited number of viewers. And, as if all of that weren’t enough, the interface is very intuitive.

One minor problem is that our account will only allow a limited number of events to take place at any given time. So, if you are planning to use it for an upcoming event, please claim your turf by giving us a heads up.

Then, dig in. Here’s how to set it up: Continue reading

Social Media Ethics in Reporting

While the Internet and social media can be invaluable resources in both collecting and distributing information, they also present significant challenges for reporters.

Our advice? Tread carefully and exercise the same healthy skepticism and integrity that you would in any other arena.

Even in your so-called “personal” accounts, stay mindful of your role as a reporter and be wary of any perception of bias that your status updates, Tweets and retweets might suggest. Continue reading

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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Using LinkedIn For Backgrounding People and Companies

UPDATE: Next “LinkedIn for Journalists” training will be held on January 10. Read below for details….

I suppose that a lot of you use LinkedIn as a professional social media platform. Well, did you know that it can also be a good reporting tool? As a journalist, you can use LinkedIn to conduct background research,  identify potential sources and reach out to your core communities.

I took a LinkedIn training, and here are some highlights on how you can use LinkedIn for reporting.

Before we start, let’s get familiar with the navigation bar because a lot of searches will start from there.

1. Finding Sources

  • Advanced People search: Click on “Advanced” on the right side of the search bar, and you can search people by company, including past and current employees.
  • Company search: Search companies by clicking on the right third drop-down menu on the navigation bar, and you will be able to see how many people among your first and second-degree connections work at a certain company. Continue reading

Matt Thompson’s Dark Secrets of the Online Overlords: A Recap

Matt and I pretending we were at prom, May 2011

For as long as I’ve known Matt Thompson (we first met a concert in Austin, natch), he’s shocked and awed me with his large brain. Over the past half decade, everything I was trying or figuring out or finding success with in digital and multi-platform journalism, Matt had already thought through, unpacked and articulated. He’s not just a close friend who rescues my $20 bills when they go flying into downtown streets, he is my journalism sherpa.

Few people can describe what’s happening across the media landscape and what audiences need from journalists better than Matt. His world-famous (or at least it should be) ‘Dark Secrets of the Online Overlords‘ presentation explains how we can take the webby sensibility that pervades the most-popular sites on the web and use it to do great, public interest journalism. Yesterday he shared the secrets with our StateImpact reporters and it got a fantastic response, so we will post the video of our webinar soon. But for now, a recap:

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Online Communities

NPR’s Social Media Team member and Two-Way Blogger Eyder Peralta was kind enough to give us some practical examples of NPR’s work in community engagement. Of course, you had to sit through me talking about how to frame online communities, first. Here’s a look back at our webinar from last week:

Characteristics of online community

  • Authenticity: as long as you are authentic to your community, you can pretty much tell them anything and they’ll believe it.
  • Purpose: what do your community members have in common?
  • Safety: if your community doesn’t feel safe, it won’t participate.
  • Empowerment: if you gives tools to your users, they can do work for you.
  • Trust: if your community doesn’t trust you, it won’t participate.

Eyder Peralta’s tips:

  • Comments are content.
  • After cultivated a community, ask your community questions. Simple questions yield complex answers.
  • Edit your community, e.g. Audience diary project and NPR baby project.

A Guide To Audience Building and Engagement

Those of you who have been paying attention to our webinar themes probably guessed it: This month’s challenge is focused on promotion for your site and engaging your users. Our overall goals for this challenge are:

  • Generating buzz around the StateImpact brand; getting people talking about it
  • Building up followers on Twitter, Facebook, and your site
  • Building a more loyal audience
  • Increasing the reach of your content

(This doesn’t mean we’re going to stop caring about topics pages. In fact, you should have gotten a “report card” in your email with how to improve, based on the monthly challenge assessment.)

For some of you, promoting your stuff comes naturally. For others, it seems a little skeezy to be constantly pushing your content. By the end of the September challenge, I hope it feels more like second nature. Words from our wise sherpa Matt Thompson:

Bloggers design their posts to move. They craft strong headlines, they spread the word through their social networks, they dip in to comment threads, they pay attention to metrics. They work to develop a genuine sense of their community and its predilections, and they adjust accordingly.

But here’s the rub: truly great bloggers lead just as much as they follow. They use their mastery of their crowd to guide its attention, to find ways to hook you into engaging with things you might not otherwise try. This is how Ezra Klein gets his community to indulge him in a discussion of actuarial values.

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