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10 a.m. Session: Social Media


By Andrew DeWitt

Here on the final day of the APME 2009 conference in St. Louis.

Kurt Greenbaum, director of social media at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Jack Lail, director of news innovation at the Knoxville News Sentinel are here to catch everyone up on Facebook, twitter and RSS Feeds.

I will attempt to not go on a Twitter rant, 160 characters at a time.

The future of the audience aka my generation uses Facebook non-stop. If you’re in any class, you can just see everyone jamming away on facebook while they should be learning about the principals of journalism. Facebook is a binkie for young adults.

10 Things every journalist should know in 2009

Link to all of the Nieman Foundation’s reports on Social Media

Another Web site to check out is www.commoncraft.com

The Knoxville News used links from all across the country to keep everyone up to date on the University of Tennessee head coaching search for a new head coach. This is known as aggregation or “link” journalism.

Jack says this is really effective for sports, politics and stories that continue to evolve.

Moving onto RSS feeds. We’re doing a social experiment where Jack Marsh of the Freedom Forum has to go collect news. While another member of his table had to sit there representing a “Reader” such as Google Reader.

My advice is that if you’re still jumping around bookmarks searching for new content, sign up for Google Reader. It’s really simple. Just Subscribe to your favorite Web sites in the top left corner and everything will pop in.

Basically, Google will now make a newspaper for you every few seconds. It’s really simple to read and it is even easy to read on a mobile device. Instead of being delivered a newspaper every morning, pop open Google Reader in the morning to get caught up on all my news.

Looking around the room, this is a BlackBerry room. Everyone has a smart phone to keep in touch with their newsrooms. In my experience, Google reader works great on my mobile device.

Another Web site recommended by the presenters is http://tinyurl.com/tonymess. Tony works for the STL Post-Dispatch in their Jefferson City office and he is a Twitter success story.

We’re now discussing different ways of following Twitter such as the TweetDeck.

Someone is asking about keeping personal and business things separate. Personally, I don’t facebook or tweet things that people don’t need to know but I’m a lot more private than a lot of my classmates.

Moving onto more complex things about Twitter. We’re now talking about hashtags. “#” is a hash.  It is a way to indicate that a specific tweet is about a topic and a way to get more followers.

My buddy David Ubben who covers Oklahoma basketball for the Oklahoman has shown me a cool new thing they are doing for certain big events. It’s called a Story Wall. This one is from the Red River Shootout earlier this month.

One thing that we don’t know of where it’s going is Google Wave. It will effect journalism in some way but we’re not sure how yet.

Should your newsroom have a social media policy?

“The Common theme that runs through these edicts is that they were written by top managers, with the input of lawyers, who seem to have little understanding of how social media can benefit journalism and news orgs. by building community.” –J.D. Lasica, CEO, Socialmedia.biz


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