Chicago chapter learns about social media for working journalists

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates social media efforts of AHCJ and assists with the editing and production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

There was a little LOL, but also plenty of cyber meat for the nearly 20 journalists, academics and students attending the AHCJ Chicago Chapter’s autumn event on social media at Columbia College on Sept. 19. Former AHCJ President Duncan Moore organized and moderated the panel discussion about the intersection of journalism and social media.

The Chicago Reader’s “Tweeter In Chief” Asher Klein (@Chicago_Reader) told how the weekly uses social media, in particular Twitter, to promote stories and engage and attract readers.

“Part of what you’re doing is advertising, getting people to like you and want to read you,” Klein said, an editorial assistant The Reader. He advised journalists using Twitter to engage readers, “to have a conversation,” accomplishing that by linking every story and blog posting.

Christine Cupaiuolo, online manager for
Christine Cupaiuolo, online manager for “Our Bodies, Ourselves” (right) and Asher Klein, editor assistant with The Chicago Reader, spoke about how social media can connect journalists and their audience. (Photo: Mark Taylor)

Northwestern University Assistant Professor Ashlee Humphreys (@ProfHumphreys), who teaches marketing at the Medill School of Journalism, discussed how social media changes the relationship between journalists and audiences.

Medicare NewsGroup Web Producer Kimber Solana (@MedicareNewsgrp ) said the online news organization uses social media to “get our brand out there and improve customer (reader) retention. We’re constantly tweeting headlines and links to stories”

Christine Cupaiuolo (@cmc2), online manager for “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” said journalists using social media should find their voice.

“Don’t try to be an expert if you’re not,” she said. “Otherwise, you’re not going to be viewed as genuine.”

Cupaiuolo and other panelists advised journalists to be consistent in their postings and to find backups for vacations and absences.

(Thanks to AHCJ member Mark Taylor for writing up these tips from the panelists.)

About the panelists:

  • Christine Cupaiuolo is an award-winning writer and editor specializing in politics, culture and gender. She currently covers women’s health and public policy for Our Bodies, Ourselves and is managing editor of the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” book. She is also an editor of Spotlight on Digital Media and Learning, an online publication supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
  • Ashlee Humphreys is an assistant professor in the Integrating Marketing Communications program at the Medill journalism school at Northwestern University. She studies online communities and how consumers interact with companies and other consumers. Her background in marketing and doctorate from the Kellogg School of Management will give us a fresh perspective on development of norms and institutions in social media.
  • Asher Klein is the editorial assistant at the Chicago Reader, where he mans the Twitter and Facebook feeds, with 38,000 followers and 13,000 subscribers respectively. He also uploads the Reader‘s print articles to the web and sometimes writes and reviews. An occasional freelancer, Asher wrote a profile of Austan Goolbee in July for his University of Chicago alumni magazine. Twitter:
  • Kimber Solana, web producer at The Medicare NewsGroup, implements the organization’s social media strategies on Facebook and Twitter.

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