How journalists use Twitter

Twitter allows reporters to monitor their beats around the clock, says Alecia Swasy in a new post at Poynter. A final look at Twitter before bedtime has become a must for many journalists.

Rather than the old-fashioned fear of “don’t scoop yourself on Twitter,” she found a new attitude: “If you don’t have it on Twitter first, it’s not a scoop.”

Swasy “spent about two years researching and interviewing 50 journalists at four metropolitan papers”: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, The Denver Post, and the Tampa Bay Times. 

“One of the most interesting things I found was Twitter’s emergence as the new phone directory. Consider the decline of landline telephones, and the subsequent death of the community white pages. A school reporter in Dallas used Twitter to find students and parents by searching key words on the latest buzz in the schoolyard. … [S]he used Twitter to track down the news about a Dallas teacher being fired because she once posed for Playboy. The reporter also used Twitter to confirm the teacher’s identity — and to find her.”

Breaking local news on Twitter means more social capital for reporters, Swasy found. It can also expand their readership outside the local area, as it did for the Tampa Bay Times’s Craig Pittman, whose Twitter presence led to a Slate blog and a book deal, she says.

It’s not that Twitter alone can make your career — each journalist Swasy interviewed “emphasized that the main thing that will attract readers is producing credible content,” she wrote.

For more about Swasy’s findings, be sure to read her post at Poynter.


Going live and being authentic

Now that I’ve caught up on reading your weekly journals, I have three posts to recommend.

Abby wrote about live video on YouTube as well as Facebook, and she embedded some excellent examples. Also, tips.

Sara found some good advice for journalists using Facebook, although one resource has been discontinued (the FB Newswire Page).

Kat bought a cool add-on device that makes her iPhone video footage smoother and more professional looking. She wrote about using it at a large event.

Trolls and comments: This week’s journals


Troll graphic from Wikimedia Commons

Abby shared a good link: Why I Quit Twitter — and Left Behind 35,000 Followers. It demonstrates that not only female journalists are subject to brutal harassment online. She also embedded the video she referred to during class, in which a YouTuber SINGS the nasty comments people have written to her. It’s worth a watch! Overall I found Abby’s post the most interesting one this week.

Ray also shared a useful link, to a post about not feeding trolls. It discusses the trolls’ motivation for what they do, among other things.

In a post reflecting her experience with this week’s assignment, Nina shared possibly the best article I’ve seen yet comparing Snapchat and Instagram: Instagram Stories is stealing Snapchat’s users.


What does an Audience Development Manager do?

I came across this job ad today: Audience Development Manager.

The long list of job duties includes:

“Determine the best opportunities for and to reach new audiences and new platforms in a shifting online landscape.”

“Plan execute, and optimize all website to newsletter conversions. Working with the edit team, grow Mental Floss newsletters , determine ROI.”

“Initiate and maintain relationships with numerous media outlets, and their websites by both monitoring their content and making frequent contribution, links etc.

“Develop and keep updated a tracking dashboard for monthly traffic, page view and video view numbers using various research tools.”

There’s lots more at the link.

Some good journal entries


Above: Screenshot from Snapchat’s website promoting advertising on the app.

Michaela followed Arndt’s tips and saw a big increase in engagement on her Instagram posts! (Notice how I constructed that sentence so I could make links without using the word “here.”)

Other above-average posts this week:

Nina shared an article titled The Pros and Cons of Scheduling Your Social Media Posts and another related link.

Ray included a link to statistics about use of Snapchat by age group. (Too bad he did not also embed a screenshot of the graph in his post!)

Sara summarized useful points from Arndt’s post and added a link to a list of other Instagram tips. She paraphrased a couple of those tips that struck her as valuable.

Keep up the good work! Remember that you CAN include images in your posts if you follow the guidelines.

Captions on Instagram

My favorite post from the journals this week was this one, by Sara, because she made me think about something I had not thought much about before: captions on Instagram.

In her post, she linked to this Wall Street Journal blog post, which I had not seen before:

5 things to know about writing captions on Instagram

Several of your posts would have been improved by embedding an Instagram post as an example. Visuals are good! Here’s how to embed — and note that your Tumblr post has to be a video post to accept an embed.

Random post by me:

Starting your social media journal

You will make posts every week in this public online journal. The rationale and the audience are explained on the Required Work page. Grading is also explained there.

Your journal must be written in a Tumblr blog. Start a new, named Tumblr blog for this purpose. Do not use a Tumblr blog that you had before, and do not use the default Tumblr blog (be very aware of this difference, because you don’t want to post for your journal into the wrong Tumblr blog).

Create a new Tumblr

Step 1: Open Account menu. Select “New.”


Step 2: Name and create a new blog.


Meeting the deadline for the assignment

To allow me and others to find your journal, reply to this post (“Leave a comment”) with the complete URL of your journal. Do this before 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13. PLEASE press Enter/Return after the URL to make it clickable. Your comment/reply URL will look similar to this:

NOTE: It must NOT look like this:

That second link can only be opened by me, the owner/author. That is useless to the rest of the world!

Change your theme

There are two ways to enter the theme editor.

From the Tumblr editor:


From the live Tumblr blog page:


Add Google Analytics

Do this as soon as possible to start collecting stats about visits to your blog. Here are the instructions: