Social Media is one of the five levels of the Digital Ninja School.
CORE REQUIREMENTS: You must master the following core areas to earn a belt in this category:
- Metrics. How do you measure success in using social media in journalism? You’ll learn about how to measure the impact social media is having on growing our audience and traffic, and also how to measure impact as you learn to be more engaging with social media vs. just broadcasting links to stories. Training links.
- Twitter. The importance of establishing your own individual Twitter account, how to use it to engage instead of just sending out links to your stories; the importance of following the right people to get more connected to your beat; how to attract the right followers; and how to use Twitter to find story ideas and sources. Training links.
- Facebook. Your sources and audience are breaking news on Facebook all the time. Are you connected with what is happening there around your beat? You’ll also learn options and best practices for establishing professional vs. personal presences on Facebook, and how to establish a “journalist’s page” or “subscriber” option for those who want to follow your work-related posts. Training links.
- Crowdsourcing. Use social media to take advantage of tens of thousands of possible sources on a story instead of only the half dozen you were going to call for a particular topic. Training links.
- Reader Engagement. Social media is about connecting people to each other. Partnering with your audience at every step in the process of local journalism is the goal. And social media is a great tool, but it’s crucial to understand the reasons we’re doing it in the first place and to understand the value of in-person engagement, too. Hint: It’s about listening, not just getting readers to send you photos of snowstorms. Training links.
ELECTIVES: You must master at least five (of your choosing) of the following areas, in addition to core requirements, to earn a belt in this category:
- Social Media Search. The audience is already reporting details of the most important stories before you go on Twitter or Facebook to ask for people who know about it to call you. Learn how to find them with “Advanced Twitter Search” and other real-time social media search functions. Training links.
- SeeClickFix. This tool allows citizens to report neighborhood problems such as potholes, speeders and graffiti to a map-based social media platform that is embedded on newspaper sites such as NHRegister.Com. It’s a great source of story ideas, and a tool for crowdsourcing and presenting a picture of problems that might span a community, from reports of open-air drug dealing to frost heaves. Training links.
- Storify. Learn how to tell a story the audience is reporting or reacting to through the curation of Tweets, YouTube videos and your own context through this powerful tool. Training links.
- Google Plus. It has hundreds of millions of users. It allows you to group “circles” of sources, readers and friends in ways that can’t easily be done using other social media platforms. Its “Google Hangout” video chat has been used by newsrooms to discuss everything from election issues to a breaking news event. And perhaps most importantly, a news outlet’s level of participation in Google Plus could start having a big impact on how readers find your content through Google searches. Training links.
- LinkedIn. Need to connect with a source at the company that’s under investigation or is rumored to be building a big new corporate office on your beat? You have a better chance finding sources from the executive or employee ranks on LinkedIn than almost any other social media platform. And you’ll be at a huge advantage if you’re connected with them on LinkedIn before you suddenly have to write that story. Training links.
- YouTube. There are thousands of video cameras poised, right now, to capture news on your beat. Will you know how to find those videos when they are taken by someone’s smart phone? You’ll also learn about the value a video embed can add to stories ranging from the Memorial Day parade to the death of Whitney Houston. Training links.
- FourSquare. Looking for a good source on that restaurant that shut down abruptly? Who better than its “mayor?” Also learn about how Foursquare has been used to find sources in important breaking news situations, and the potential its “lists” function has for telling stories about your community. Training links.
- Klout. If the pure number of followers you have on a social media platform such as Twitter and Facebook isn’t the most important thing, how do you measure what is? How do you measure your “engagement” and “influence.” Klout attempts to, and you’ll learn why, and how to use it to track your own social media progress. Training links.
- Flickr, InstaGram and Photo Sharing Tools: Photography is one of the biggest hobbies in the world, and thousands of people on your beat are now carrying around high-resolution cameras attached to their phones. Learn about Flickr and other photo sharing sites, how they can be a source of story ideas as well as potential source of illustration on breaking news stories in particular. Learn important information about copyright, fair use and creative commons images. Training links.
- Social Media for Breaking News Coverage: How do you use the search functionality of social media to find information quickly about a breaking news situation? How can you use social media to find sources on an unfolding story? Do we have permission to use photos that are Tweeted or posted to a Facebook wall, or quote from status updates? Master the tips and best practices and you’ll be a social media dynamo. Training links.
- Facebook for the Brand: How can we turn our newspaper brand or topical Facebook streams into something more than just a broadcasting of links to our stories? Can it be a source of news tips, a platform for community conversation, a more comprehensive information resource for our audience? Training links.
- Twitter for the Brand: How can we turn our newspaper brand or topical Twitter streams into something more than just a broadcasting of links to our stories? Can it be a source of news tips, a platform for community conversation, a more comprehensive information resource for our audience? Training links.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is an online pinboard network among the hottest new social networks to emerge. And it’s demographic reportedly skews heavily toward women 24-54. How can newsrooms and journalists use it to engage with Pinterest users? Experiment with it and help us find out. Training links.
- Independent Study. Work with your supervisor to identify a different area of training related to Social Media you want to pursue. Training links.