Why do some journalists have thousands of followers and others barely a handful? Is it better to tweet, ‘gram or Facebook? What about Snapchat? Should you have separate personal and professional accounts? What’s the best way to deal with trolls and negativity? Attendees at Health Journalism 2018 learned how to up their social media game from those who do it well — and how to avoid potential problems — at the “Freelance: Flex your social media muscle” session on April 14.
“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).