March 1, 2013 A lesson on social media
Back when people still read printed newspapers on a regular basis, readers would look for and read stories written by their favorite journalists and, sometime, even take time out of their days to write a letter to them.
With the rise of social media, everyone now has the ability to stay in touch with their favorite writers, instantaneously in a way that feels a lot like legalized stalking.
Last week, Assistant Managing Editor for Digital Media at the Detroit Free Press Stefanie Murray lectured on the role social media plays in journalism in the Journalism for the Web class at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor.
Murray said to the class that the people journalists are writing for are on social media. So if we want to keep our readers, we need to take the news to where they are.
The Detroit Free Press has been using social media for quite some time now. It maintains a Facebook page where links to the most popular stories of the day are posted as well as breaking news.
Like wise, the Free Press also uses Twitter regularly, tweeting stories and retweeting comments and user feedback.
The Free Press has a Tumbler account, but it hasn’t been updated in years.
Murray said that she started using Twitter strictly professionaly in 2007, but she now uses it for personal use as well, building a brand for herself.
“Surprisingly, Pinterest is on the rise for journalism,” Murray said. Pinterest is a social media application that operates much like a bulletin board where people “pin” images and graphics they like to their page.
Murray says that Instagram is still a great way to get readers to provide images for stories and events, but she reminded the class that journalist can never just pull photos from Instagram without permission.
So what the Free Press does to get photos from readers is to ask for photos through its Facebook and Twitter account with a special Hashtag assigned.
If the Free Press is looking for photos of the Detroit Tigers, they will send out a message on social media saying they are looking for photos of the Tigers from fans, Tweet a photo with the Hashtag #igersdetroit and they will put it in the paper.
Murray added that the new video application for Twitter called Vine is still up in the air.
“We’re still not sure how we are going to use it because you can only make six second video clips with it, but we will see where it goes,” Murray said.
Murray ended her lecture stating that there is a huge push videos in journalism, not only for the news content but also for advertising revenue as advertisers typically pay more when their ads are attached to stories with video content.
“Advertising rates for the web are based on the number of page view and overall site traffic,” Murray said. “Stories with videos attached get more traffic, so advertisers pay more when they advertise on those stories.