Social Media In Journalism

I’ve decided to go a different route this week, to take a break from my presidential coverage. This week, I’m going to discuss my ideas about implementing social media in the journalism industry.

Everywhere we go, we are linked into media by the television, computers, radios, books, billboards, etc. Media is key to life in the U.S. It’s amazing to look at just how far we have come since the days of monks copying books letter by letter.
I’ve had the opportunity to really open up to these new sources and tools in college, and have had some great mentors in this vast and ever-changing field. One of these people happens to be my cousin, Erin Haslag. Awhile back, she sent me a message with advice on how to better understand these tools, and better use them. I think it needs to be shared, so I’ve included that message:

“Here ya go… 🙂

Articles with an ” * “ are blogs I frequently reference for social media news and updates.

Social Media Dashboard: I would recommend using a “dashboard client” like Hootsuite (my preferred dashboard) or Tweetdeck to manage the social media accounts throughout the day. Try both and see which resonates more for you. Dashboards allow you to create multiple messages on all platforms and schedule messages in advance. Hootsuite has more powerful analytic features at this time for measuring the ROI of your social media and understanding the power of your reach.


Facebook Pages:

  • The Official Facebook Blog*
  • Attachments – the Facebook Pages Guides (one is 2009, one is from 2011 – both have great content); Facebook for Bloggers is also attached as a reference.

General Social Media Resources:

Content ResourcesGoogle Keywords; Use the keywords to search both Social Mention and Google Alerts for content ideas when creating blogs or posts. These are very rich resources for building content, discovering trends and connecting with people who would be interested in you or your product.

Courtesy of Erin”

You can follow her on Twitter, or check out WellInLA.

Now, to add to Erin’s points, I have found a couple of tools and techniques which I would try to implement.

The first one is This site can be used to measure your reach through social media, to gauge your influence on the web. By linking your social media sites to this, it rates you on a scale of 1 to 1oo, with 100 being the ultimate user. Here’s a way to look at it. has a rating of 82 and the average Facebook user among my friends has somewhere in the 20 to 30 region. While it doesn’t mean you have more influence than, say, Bill Gates, it is a way to gauge how active you are on social media sites compared to other people. It also cannot measure the quality of the information you spread, but it can allow you to see how you interact with other users, and also get a chance to earn some free perks.

It also finds topics based on your usage of social media, and rate your influence on that field. Users can also give “klout” to other users when they have influenced them on a topic.

Another site which should be a must visit for any newsroom is Twitter For NewsroomsThis site has pretty much everything you need to know as a journalist to use Twitter. Seriously, go look. Now.

I also suggest that if you haven’t read it, go buy Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing, by Mark Briggs. In it, Briggs lays out a variety of tools and techniques that I feel should be a requirement for every journalist to use.

Erin also talked about social media dashboards. Like she said, Hootsuite is a good one, which I have used for awhile. I am currently test driving a new one that came out in late 2o11. I love it so far. This dashboard is called Bottlenose, and it has some of the neatest features I have seen, including a diagram to show topics which may interest you, or are most popular now. I’ve included a pdf document so you can see what it looks like, which you can view here-Bottlenose.

Another site I check daily is This site provides tips and training for new techniques, and also provides news. It’s also a must visit to help develop your techniques.

Every journalist, in my opinion, should have a blog. At the very least, you should have one for the sake of posting your resume for employers and showcasing your work. If you do have one, good. Do not forget to use search tags and SEO if you want anyone to be able to read it. Also, include links in your articles.

Lastly, you should be using an RSS feed by now. If not, do it now. I use Google Reader, which is simple and convenient for me.

In today’s world, a journalist needs to be aware of almost everything. The best way to do this is to immerse ourselves in the new technologies and not only use them, but expand them. The world is always changing, and the media industry must adapt to the new changes.


About Benjamin D. Peters

Ben is a reporter for The Missouri Times. Missouri State University alum, degree in media. View all posts by Benjamin D. Peters

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