“I’d read that,” said Liz Szabo, medical writer for USA Today (@LizSzabo) and an early adopter who shared her favorite tips for using Twitter during a Thursday afternoon session at Health Journalism 2014 in Denver (#ahcj14). Continue reading
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 27, 2013
I asked Paul Colford, AP’s director of media relations, about the “Sponsored Tweets.” His response to me – and several others who had questions – is that this is nothing new and other news outlets are doing it, too.
The Associated Press began using “Sponsored Tweets” in January in conjunction with the International CES (consumer electronics show). The press release announcing the “innovative advertising” says the tweets would be provided by the advertiser and handled by staff outside the AP newsroom:
The AP developed internal guidelines in recent months so that it may build new business models in the new media landscape without compromising its newsroom values and principles.
A more in-depth piece on the Muck Rack blog about the venture provides further insight into why the AP is using them and how they are generated. In the post, Ken Detlet, the AP’s vice president of digital advertising, said “It’s a useful tool, when used tactfully, to promote meaningful content.”
We’ve gathered a sampling of reactions from journalists and we’re interested in hearing from our readers. Is labeling them as “Sponsored Tweets” enough? Do you think this will become more prevalent? What would be your reaction to seeing such tweets in your stream? Did you know that AP and other news organizations are including advertising in their tweets? Use the comment section to share your thoughts.
Saerom Yoo, a reporter at The Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore.:
Blythe Bernhard, a health and medical reporter at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
— Blythe Bernhard (@blythebernhard) August 27, 2013
Will Yong, an associate producer with Al Jazeera’s “Listening Post:”
@AP excuse me? has it come to this?
— Will Yong (@will_yong) August 27, 2013
Annie Lowrey, an economic policy reporter for The New York Times:
Jane McManus, a sportswriter with ESPNNewYork.com and ESPNW:
Ben Popken, a writer and editor with NBC News:
@AP This is a terrible tweet for multiple reasons.
— bpopken (@bpopken) August 27, 2013
At KQED Public Radio’s The California Report in San Francisco, part of my job is to connect with communities across California and find diverse voices talking about community health issues for our airwaves. While on-the-ground outreach is the ideal way to build relationships with sources, it’s impossible for one person to embed herself in all of California’s 58 counties.
That’s where social media comes in. Tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and social media networks has helped me find a wide range of voices, as well as follow conversations in my health beat. At Health Journalism 2013, I did a presentation with Dori J. Maynard, the President of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, Calif., (follow her at @TeamMije and @djmaynard) on how to navigate Twitter and LinkedIn to find sources. We started with Twitter.
Reporters should follow individuals and organizations that serve diverse populations (need some Twitter 101? Check AHCJ’s tip sheets here and here, Twitter’s Help Center, Mediabistro, and Mashabable’s video tutorial). Follow ethnic media in your coverage area. Also, think outside traditional “health” box. Don’t just follow health organizations and media – think about arts groups, youth groups or theater groups in the regions you are covering. For example, I follow Cornerstone Theater Company, a community theater group in downtown Los Angeles. The staff has since connected me with various community members who have been affected by community health issues on everything from trying to get access to health care as a homeless person in Skid Row, to preventing gun violence in South LA.
But if you’re following hundreds (or even thousands) of people on Twitter, it can be hard to keep up with the conversations. That’s where creating Twitter “streams” can be useful. Continue reading
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.
Who says health reform can’t make you laugh?
In case you have been living in a Twitter-free cave somewhere in Antarctica, you have probably seen #healthpolicyvalentines (and its half cousins #hospitalvalentines and, in a sad commentary on our times, #budgetvalentines).
It’s been going on since last week and reading it is the most fun we’ve had wasting time in quite a while. Some of the entries are not suitable for a family journalism blog (Sam, that bit about your benefit package?) but here are a few of our favorites. Go waste some time on your own, you won’t regret it.
There are dozens and dozens more – many very funny. It can be hard to make your Twitter feed go all the way back to when it began last week, but it’s worth struggling with that “load” feature. I would include more but I have to go tweet my thanks for name brand roses now (I would have been happy with generics).
Please welcome AHCJ’s newest members and, if you haven’t already, consider following them on Twitter. All new AHCJ members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves.
- Nadia Al-Samarrie, editor in chief, Diabetes Health Magazine, Novato, Calif.
- Evan Belanger, reporter, Birmingham Business Journal, Birmingham, Ala. (@evanbelanger)
- Scott Dance, reporter, Baltimore Business Journal, Baltimore (@ssdance)
- Jason deBruyn, reporter, Triangle Business Journal, Raleigh/Durham, N.C.
- Jerry DeMink, executive video producer, WebMD, Atlanta
- Mercy Edionwe, freelance producer, Tucson, Ariz.
- Becky Ellis, senior editor, WebMD, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Laura Englehart, reporter, Dayton Business Journal, Dayton, Ohio (@englehlp)
- Gisele Grayson, producer, National Public Radio, Washington, D.C. (@ggrayson)
- Katharine Grayson, reporter, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
- Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal, Jacksonville, Fla.
- Kevin Lomanngino, independent journalist, South Portland, Maine (@klomangino)
- Lisa Peters, student, Johannesburg, South Africa
- Ed Sealover, reporter, Denver Business Journal, Denver
- Chris Silva, reporter, Nashville Business Journal, Nashville, Tenn.
- Chad Terhune, independent journalist, Eastpoint, Fla.
- Dave Twiddy, reporter, Kansas City Business Journal, Kansas City, Mo. (@dtwiddy71)
- Tom Wilemon, reporter, The Tennessean, Nashville, Tenn. (@TomWilemon)
- Anna Yukhananov, health & drug policy reporter, Reuters, Washington, D.C. (@AnnaHealth)
- Sandra Zaragoza, reporter, Austin Business Journal, Austin, Texas (@ZaragozaAustin)
If you haven’t joined yet, see what member benefits you’re missing out on: Access to more than 50 journals and databases, tip sheets and articles from your colleagues on how they’ve reported stories, conferences, workshops, online training, reporting guides and more. Join AHCJ today to get a wealth of support and tools to help you.
Though blogging and social media have been around for some time now, some people still argue that blogging, social media and journalism should be independent of one another. Scott Hensley of NPR’s Shots blog contends that couldn’t be further from the truth.
During a panel about “Best practices in blogging and social media” at Health Journalism 2011, Hensley said bloggers and journalists are perfect matches for each other. So how does a blogger decide what to write about?
“I want to write the most interesting stuff online,” Hensley said. “The stuff that is burning to be done right now, then see where it goes.”
He advised journalists to check their Twitter feed in the morning as it might give you story ideas.
“Twitter and Facebook can be a booster rocket to make a post go viral.” He added that it doesn’t always work but, if the post is interesting, it’s worth a shot. Hensley says that in addition to checking news sites, he always checks his personal Twitter feed – @scotthensley – as well as the NPR’s Twitter feed – @NPRhealth – to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere.
Ivan Oransky, treasurer of AHCJ’s board of directors, is the executive editor of Reuters Health and blogger for Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch. He joined the blogosphere in 2006 for The Scientist. Oransky says that search engine optimization (SEO) is key for any blogger. If you have a subject you are covering, be sure to use key words that will attract people.
“SEO, to me, means using key words where people that were interested in that subject would want to read about,” Oransky said.
Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Robin Lloyd and Cristine Russell tell an increasingly familiar story: Twitter and friends take over a journalism conference, overwhelm the audience at first and eventually convert them to the social media gospel. This time around, at ScienceWriters 2009, a few interesting wrinkles emerged.
A taxonomy of social bookmarking: “Digg.com operates like a gang, Harris said, with stories or links nominated by super-users tending to rise in the ranks; meanwhile Reddit.com is like an “ADHD direct democracy” in which any link can make it to the top rankings, but popular links turn over rapidly.”
A new program tells you which conference tweets to care about: “One innovative new Twitter tool that Purdue University researchers unveiled earlier this month was made available for use at ScienceWriters 2009. Designed to help make sense of the wave of Twitter traffic at a meeting or conference, a new site called Need4Feed sorts through the tweets at a meeting and builds a popularity ranking to identify those with the broadest appeal. Developer Kyle Bowen, director of informatics at Purdue, said in a university press release that ‘Need4Feed lets conference goers sift through the noise to find the important things being said.'”
AHCJ board member Ivan Oransky appeared on Brian Lehrer Live to discuss H1N1. The relevant segment starts at about 38:50 into the show.
Among the issues discussed:
- Why H1N1 is a “pandemic,” what that really means, and how the designation has affected the public perception of the outbreak.
- The effectiveness of the widespread adoption of hand sanitizers, especially in the context of flu and other viral outbreaks.
- Vaccination and the lessons/relevance of the 1976 swine flu “outbreak,” in which the vaccine turned out to be more dangerous than the actual flu.
- The level of immunity created by the first wave of H1N1 earlier this year.
- Media behavior during this outbreak, and the media’s responsibility to communicate as much information as possible without being “sensationalist.”
James Chase reports in Medical Marketing & Media that Pfizer has opened a Twitter account, @pfizer_news. The pharmaceutical behemoth will use the microblogging service for interacting and opening dialog with customers, rather than for product promotion or advertising, Chase reports. While Pfizer has been monitoring Twitter for months, executives were afraid to engage directly for fear that they would be “ripped to shreds” by the Twitterati.
“We’re trying to become transparent, but we’re doing it slowly and cautiously,” said (Ray Kerins, VP worldwide communications). “For us to jump in with two feet would be stupid. The first task was to get the communications team cleaned up because we’ve had a bad rap in that area.”
Pfizer hopes to increase its social media presence, but plans to do so cautiously and in gradual steps.
For now, Pfizer’s media relations team is charged with controlling all corporate tweeting, but Kerins said he hopes to expand the pool soon. “I would love to have by the end of the summer 100 people, from medical to public affairs, who have been anointed by the company and who can go out and Twitter.”
As of Monday morning (July 27), @Pfizer_News had gained 565 followers and was in turn following 225 users, many of them major media outlets.