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Social Media Summit


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In November, the Engaging News Project and the University of Texas School of Journalism hosted their first Social Media Summit, a day-long gathering of journalists, academics and students to discuss experiences, benefits, and challenges of using social media. In this presentation, we review the key takeaways from the day.

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Social Media Summit

  2. 2. N0V. 11, 2016 Sponsored by the Engaging News Project & the University of Texas School of Journalism The first Social Media Summit sought to answer these questions: Has social media helped or harmed news organizations? What social media platforms most benefit news sites? Which platforms present the most challenges? What’ s in it for social media companies to get involved with news organizations, such as through Facebook’ s Instant Articles? How did news sites use social media during the 2016 election? Thank You to our Funders The Dallas Morning News Innovation Fund, Democracy Fund, Hewlett Foundation and Rita Allen Foundation
  3. 3. COVERING THE 2016 ELECTION THROUGH SOCIA L MEDIA Livestreaming was a big success this election cycle. It provided access to candidates, campaigns, and events in ways that traditional news programming couldn't (e.g. when the TV- feed goes to commercial, the livestream can catch events behind-the-scenes.) (From L to R): Moderator Robyn Tomlin, The Dallas Morning News; Jessica Huff, McClatchy, Selymar Colón, Univision; and Katie Harbath, Facebook Moving forward, the biggest challenges for these organizations include: Balancing limited staff resources on a day-to- day basis Fighting the spread of fake news Winning back people who felt that news organizations didn’t represent their interests
  4. 4. FA CEBOOK LIVE DISCUSSION Newsrooms are experimenting with Facebook Live, often for sharing breaking news Benefits Can answer audience questions in real time Can increase page likes Shows people that you have a reporter at the scene Challenges No monetization right now ( although may be coming soon) Ethical questions about showing some things live ( e. g. a dead body during a shooting) Poor quality of video captured “ on the fly” Tips Think about the first image – it is the one that will show up on Facebook Look to answer audience questions A reporter taking the initiative might jumpstart interest from the newsroom Moderated by Kelsey Whipple, The Dallas Morning News Graduate Fellow for Innovative Journalism at UT­Austin
  5. 5. LESSONS FROM # ELECTIONLA ND Electionland is a nationwide project that tracked and covered voting problems during the 2016 election. Partners included ProPublica, the Google News Lab, WNYC News, Univision, the First Draft Coalition, and the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Thirteen universities participated With the proper tools (TinEye, Dataminr, Google, etc.) and nationwide coordination, social media could provide an accurate assessment of Election Day problems Electionland came together in just a few months before Election Day. With the lessons learned this time around, it could be an important force for improving elections and voter access in the future Presented by Dale Blasingame and students from Texas State University
  6. 6. DA RE TO BE SQUA RE: WHY INSTA GRA M IS CRITICA L IN NEW MEDIA STORYTELLING When using user- generated content, you must ask for permission and give appropriate photo credit by including their Instagram handle. Instagram allows you to pull from the community. When posting on Instagram as a newsroom, be open- minded with what you post. Mix it up and post hard news, but also include a selfie or a picture of your dog. The key is to add something personal or different to connect with your audience. When possible, put other people’ s handles in your caption. This will help generate new followers. This also shows that you are part of the community. Presented by Addie Broyles of the Austin American­Statesman
  7. 7. A / B TESTING IN THE DIGITA L A GE A/ B testing can help with business outcomes ( e. g. page views, return visitors, time on site) and democratic outcomes ( e. g. learning, civility) Tips for A/ B testing Ask what you want to learn before starting Test one change at a time Test many times Make sure that your sample size is adequate to see differences Evaluate why version A did better than version B Many A/ B testing programs available: Try engagingnewsproject. org/ quiz- creator for A/ B testing quizzes Presented by Ashley Muddiman (pictured) and Talia Stroud of the Engaging News Project
  8. 8. DOES TONE ON SOCIA L REA LLY MA TTER? Text overlay, inspiring quotes, and faces all work to personalize the message and grab the reader’ s attention Three rules of posting news articles to Facebook: Shorter is better Express some kind of relatable emotion Include something in the “ share” text ( like a caption) Presented by Penny Riordan of GateHouse Media Presented by Penny Riordan of GateHouse Media What you write on social media can affect whether the audience visits your website
  9. 9. ENGA GING PLA TFORMS DISCUSSION Outlets worry about the small payoff when it comes to day- to- day news on Twitter With so many platforms, it’ s hard to distribute resources toward things like Snapchat and Instagram ( these platforms are difficult to monetize so it might feel like a waste of team resources) Some news organizations struggle with balancing sending readers important push notifications and the concern that they' re violating their personal privacy Moderated by Amanda Wilkins of The Dallas Morning News  A few platforms that newsrooms use for data analysis include Share Rocket, CrowdTangle and Chartbeat
  10. 10. FROM PA PER ROUTES TO PUSH A LERTS: HOW WE’ RE SA VING OUR LEGA CY NEWSPA PER In the digital age, math and analytics play a huge role in the newsroom with real- time metrics The role of “ Web Producer” is rapidly changing; focus on writing, ability to produce strong content, and social media skills What' s next? Austin- American Statesman confident they are going in the right direction They are dedicated to growth in the digital field, and are looking to hire people who are also dedicated Presented by Courtney Sebesta and Eric Webb of the Austin American­Statesman 
  11. 11. WHY YOU SHOULD BE USING SNA PCHA T Snapchat is successful for newsrooms because audiences like to get that “ behind the scenes” experience Snapchat is less about monetization, more about branding and promotion Outlets should be downloading the Snapchat stories they post for online content Teasing a story online might increase engagement Presented by Cassandra Jaramillo, The Dallas Morning News; Jon Zmikly, Texas State University (pictured); and Shannon McGregor, Engaging News Project. Photo courtesy of Cindy Royal, Texas State University.
  12. 12. NA STY TA LK ONLINE: WHA T' S A JOURNA LIST TO DO Study # 1: Interviewed 34 journalists ranging in gender, work experience, and medium to ask how they handle comments All journalists interviewed read comments Most feel overwhelmed by number of comments Split on whether to answer back - majority said journalists should respond in comments, but not when the comments become uncivil Presented by Gina Chen of the Engaging News Project Main findings: Study # 2: Interviewed 38 female journalists on how they handle harrassment Extent of harassment: 100% faced some type of uncivil comments 81. 5% experienced gendered harassment TV journalists faced the most Harassment worse if cover " male" topics Strategies for dealing: Call out the commenters or block them Pre- moderate on professional Facebook page Delete offending comments quickly " Ignore it and do my job" Hide page from family
  13. 13. SUMMA RY Livestreaming platforms, like Facebook Live, offer opportunities that other platforms can' t provide, such as connecting with the audience in real time. But there are challenges to livestreaming, including the ethical issues that come from sharing live, unedited video. There are a number of ways for news organizations to use social media to cover an election cycle, including as a way to connect with audiences and track voting issues on Election Day. Although news organizations may not think they can devote the resources needed to manage non- Facebook or Twitter accounts, there are benefits to using Snapchat and Instagram. Both platforms provide a way to give the audience " behind the scenes" access, and they can help news organizations build community.
  14. 14. CONNECT WITH ENGA GING NEWS PROJECT @ engagingnews / engagingnewsproject engagingnewsproject. org