Your daily dose of social media analysis (part of a balanced breakfast)

I thought it would be interesting to pick two local news organizations to compare for this short project, so chose KSDK and KMOV. I took a look at their Twitter and Facebook pages, the stories they covered/linked to, and the ways they used their social media accounts.

First, KSDK. KSDK’s twitter feed seemed to be ran pretty well. They were linking to stories on their website, teasing stories that were going to be on air, and interacting well with followers. There were several ‘thank you’ tweets to followers who were sharing their stories. One thing I especially liked was that they used several types of hashtags with their tweets, ones that were not specific to KSDK like #KSDK (they used this too, but definitely not exclusively) might be. For instance, they used #STL and #oddnews. Someone who does not normally pay attention to KSDK might be able to come across them by searching those hashtags, which of course is the whole point. All of these things come together to mean a very successful Twitter account for KSDK. What is more, all the work they put into the account is likely to lead to them getting many more hits on their website and thus more ad money. Alissa Skelton has a piece about a study that shows exactly why this is the case. Applying those principles here, it’s easy to see why KSDK’s Twitter account is four times as popular as KMOV’s.

KSDK’s Facebook page was not as well ran, however. With the storm happening last night, they used Facebook to keep everyone up to date. Unfortunately, it is not good Facebook etiquette to publish more than 1-2 posts per hour. What might have been more appropriate would be to link to the channel’s Twitter feed. Another Facebook no-no was the frequent use of hashtags, which do not have any power on Facebook. KSDK’s Facebook was well-done in how it encouraged interaction and linked to reporters’ pages. There were several posts requesting followers’ input and others that tagged relevant reporters.

Overall, I would say that KSDK did a fairly good job connecting with their fans and followers and encouraging interaction.

The other news channel I followed was KMOV. KMOV’s Twitter feed was a little different from KSDK’s. They have three main feeds, one for programming changes, one for news and one for Cardinals news. All three were disappointing. The programming one is helpful in that it lets followers know about schedule changes, but that’s it. The Cardinals feed just sends out news about them, and since it’s the middle of winter, it was very quiet in the last 24 hours. The general news feed was just not very good. It got the job done in that it told the news and linked to stories, but it never once tagged a reporter or a follower. What was worse was that it only used the hashtags #kmov and #News4StLouis and it put them on every story. These are specific to KMOV and will not help anyone find out about the station or its website.

KMOV’s Facebook site was much better, however. They avoided the error of posting too many times about a certain story, but they did participate in using useless hashtags. The Facebook page had a variety of stories with pictures and video. There were links to interesting things, including giveaways and their reporters’ pages. There was very good viewer/follower interaction going on.

In all, I would say that KMOV’s social media management was average. They clearly have not caught on to Twitter yet, so it’s no surprise that KSDK has more than 4 times as many followers.





Self-Promotion 101 (How to make yourself look awesome without trying too hard to make yourself look awesome)

A large part of being a multiplatform journalist today is developing one’s personal brand. What does this mean? In short, I think this means that people know you for you and your work first, not the company you work for. Having a personal brand manifests itself in variety of ways. Some good ones are listed in this article by Mindy McAdams. She gives some technical tips like making sure your resume can be viewed from different devices, but she also makes some good theoretical points. An indication that you have become established with a personal brand is that people in your field know who you are and you have a reputation as having done good, ethical journalism. Something I would add that I think is even more relevant to MPJ is that you need to have a distinctive style to your journalism. With the increasing amount of media on which journalism is performed, this shouldn’t be too hard to establish. In light of this, if your work looks and sound stylistically like someone else, it’s probably not a good thing.

One journalist who has established a personal brand is Steve Buttry, who also has written about personal branding. His thoughts echo some of the things already said here in his piece “Confessions (strategies) of a branded journalist (or a journalist with a reputation, if you prefer)”. One point that he makes which I think is important is that you need to be authentic with your branding. Deliberate self-promotion is probably uncomfortable for many people. I know it is for me. But you have to be honest without selling yourself shot.

For me going forward, a personal brand starts with what I do with this blog. I am currently formatting it to be a place where I can house links to the work that I have done while I’ve been at school. So far my writing for the UNews Sports section has focused on the less-popular sports. I’m finding that I like the work a lot and I am trying to develop a niche there. I would like to develop expertise in linking various media together and presenting them in an accessible way for all devices. This I think is a good skill to learn for sports journalism and will go a long way toward establishing my personal brand.

The Future of News

As we all know, the way humans take in and use news is changing very quickly. As one who is interested in both the presentation of news and the way we consume it, I have a few thoughts on where news is headed in the future (besides the obvious one, online).

The first thing to keep in mind is that news is absolutely everywhere and not terribly hard to find if you know what you want and what to look for. However, there is so much news out there that one cannot possibly consume all of it. Ideally the individual would like to consume the news that matters most to him, but how does he decide that? More and more, news sources are becoming, and will become, hubs for the most important of news. They are really acting as trusted deciders of what news is important news and how we should view that news. Heidi Moore calls this presentation ’emphasis’. She talks about how scoops are less and less important given everyone’s access to news, but a site’s presentation of the news is what really matters. Sarah Marshall calls this new role of journalists, ‘Managers of Information’. If you know your Comm Theory, you might remember Agenda-Setting Theory. Unlike the olden times when there were only three TV channels, a sprinkling of radio stations, and not internet, the media cannot firmly control your access to information. What they can do is try to decide for you what news is important. That, I think, is part of the reason why there are such extreme views on things like cable news stations. MSNBC caters to a liberal audience because what they deem as important news matches up with their audience (and vice versa for Fox News). What I hope is that future news hubs will not follow party lines like these two networks have.


A Real-Life Example of Multi-Platform Journalism

For this post I am going to talk about an example that I’ve seen of Multi-Platform Journalism in use. The project is called: Discipline and the Performance of Punishment: Welcome to “The Wildest Show in the South”. The author is one of my teachers at Saint Louis University, Dr. Mary Gould. Her work details a prison in Louisiana. Every year this prison hosts a rodeo and craft fair in which the prisoners compete and also make items to be sold. Gould opens with a video, then an introduction. The video is nice because it introduces the topic and prepares the viewer/reader for the experience. The introduction connects with the reader because it has pictures that represent the author’s physical journey to the prison. The main part of the article is a series of sections. Each article section represents a different physical part of the craft fair and rodeo. The reader is able to chose which sections to read and once he does, he is able to see even more pictures and/or video of that specific area.

This project as a whole goes a long way toward engaging the reader and grabbing his attention, which is becoming harder and harder to do with traditional print media. I think it is good example of Multi-platform Journalism.

This isn’t even my final form!

This blog, which I have used for two Communication classes so far in college, is now about to undergo another transformation. I will be reformatting it to display some of the projects, papers and articles that I have worked on while I’ve been at SLU. Stand by.