It’s really been quite hard for me to maintain a train of thought these last few months of pregnancy.  That’s obvious by my lack of blogging, and the fact that I’ve mentioned this before!  To handle family, home, work and the rest of life I didn’t force myself to write other than necessary tasks.  I did, however, need to write out the below Social Media Outline for any Journalist.

This need was for myself as I needed to formalize a basic goal plan of what I want to achieve in my own career.  I’m headed for maternity leave and have already worked my last day on the news desk before leave actually starts.  I want to expand what I’m currently doing as a journalist who uses social media when I return.  So I wrote it out as simple and as basic as possible.

It’s broken down into sections.  I separated out the Social Media and Interactive Journalist from the Social Media and Interactive Producer.  It must be noted that these two positions combined into one can define the MultiMedia Journalist that many newsrooms are now using.
I did the outline this way for the journalist that uses social networks, but doesn’t also work on the website.  The Producer section is intended for the station looking to actually create a lead position to oversee social media and web efforts.  The entire outline, which also separates out uses and goals for certain social networks and the web, can be used in any broadcast or print media outlet and even be implemented in any business.

A Social Media Outline For Any Journalist

*Interaction means two-way communication.  A one way communicator is a bad brand. One way communication is when all that is shared are headlines and links without commentary of any.  Only true interaction and being a participating member of a community will create brand awareness within that community.

Simple truths about social media:
    •    Social Media is branding.  However social media is used a brand is created; therefore, any actions taken with social media must work with any existing company brand.
    •    As with any brand awareness campaign, the goal is to keep and to attract new consumers.  Social media is a brand awareness campaign.  Use social media tools to communicate and to interact* with several different online communities.  This will share the brand with existing and new consumers.
    •    Social media is a resource made up of many different non-traditional communication tools.
    •    Social media does not replace the value of the end product – the newscast and the website – it enhances it.  
    •    Good, fair, balanced, complete, ethical journalism is still needed and desired by the public.
    •    Social media creates fragmented information.
    •    Journalists are needed to pull that fragmented information together to tell a complete and whole story.
    •    Social media is not a newsroom tool.  It is a station tool that must be used in the same manner with the same brand voice through all station efforts: newsroom, community affairs, marketing, etc.

The Social Networking and Interactive Journalist:
    •    Believes in utilizing non-traditional content delivery systems, which includes but is not limited to, all aspects of the company website, blogs, podcasts, vlogs, mobile technology, and social media communities like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, Ustream, to connect with and to reach consumers, which are the readers and viewers
    •    Understands that first and foremost any efforts on these platforms are marketing/branding of him/herself, as well as the company
    •    Has goals to connect with and to reach these consumers through true interaction*
    •    Has a flexible strategy to reach these goals
    •    Has a distinctive voice that reflects the journalist as well as the company
    •    Does not push out content only, but truly interacts* with consumers by responding to comments, chatting with followers/friends, and being an actual participating member of the social media community
    •    Maintains journalistic ethics and standards
    •    Understands the Internet landscape, mobile technology and the fundamentals of how communication methods are ever changing, therefore; any strategy must be flexible to keep up with new advances and changes
    •    Works within the boundaries of any existing company social media policy, but is willing to discuss new ideas and push for advances beyond what the policy entails

Interactive and Social Networking Producer:

    •    Is different than the Interactive and Social Networking Journalist
    •    Follows all the same guidelines as the Journalist
    •    Main objective is the overall voice and brand of the company, not just an individual voice
    •    Assists in creating individual strategies or voices for Journalists
    •    Set goals to be achieved by the use of social media
    •    Assists in creating plans and strategies in using social media for all aspects of the station from day to day news, special projects, events, community affairs and marketing
    •    Works to accomplish the set plans with the flexibility to alter them as needed to make them more effective
    •    Works independently and as part of the team to accomplish set strategies and to achieve desired goals
    •    Participate in planning meetings, managerial meetings, web meetings, and any other meeting where a social media strategy can be used
    •    Oversees day to day use of social networks
    •    Monitor the station social media brand using a variety of available web tools
    •    Assist with website – update stories, post breaking news alerts, send texts, etc.,
    •    Monitor, and when appropriate responds, to comments posted on website and social networks
    •    Generate news tips, resources and story ideas
    •    Follow existing and new social network trends and adapt usage of social networks as needed

Objectives for a news station:

    •    Create and publish a Comments Policy specifically for facebook and the website (There may be an existing comment policy for the website, either corporate or for us, but I can’t find it.  If it exists, it needs to be published in an accessible area of the website.)
    •    Create a strategy for Community Affairs projects and events
    •    Generate content – written stories, video and pictures – to be used specifically for the website and social networks
    •    Assist in setting up Interactive HelpCenters by submitting topics, arranging live guests, setting up panels
    •    Continue to search for news stories for both on air and web distribution
    •    Work with Social Media Team (hope interns one day too) to be consistent with content
    •    Maintain and expand efforts on existing social networks being used by the station
    •    Use social networks for all areas of the station: news, community affairs, marketing/branding


    •    Create and publish a comment and posting policy (posting meaning fans of the site who post directly on the page)
    •    Move away from uploading videos directly to Facebook for upload only on YouTube, which is linked with the Facebook page (reasons: looks better and builds two social networks at once)
    •    Use Notes or Discussions more to create more conversation about stories and issues
    •    Monitor all use of the page


    •    Go through the list of those being followed and eliminate any accounts that may not be appropriate to follow, like spam accounts
    •    Share headlines, generate conversation, find news tips, etc.
    •    Use heavily during breaking news to keep community updated, as well as find witnesses, video, and pictures that we can also use
    •    Use during developing/continuing stories to keep topic top of mind,
    •    First place for updates or new developments to be shared
    •    Direct followers to website for complete story
    •    Create relevant Twitter chats to promote stories, market our brand
    •    Ask reporters to be involved in Twitter chats
    •    Find appropriate events to Tweet live
    •    Monitor replies and Direct Messages
    •    Participate in conversation


    •    Build the community
    •    Produce more YouTube videos (remember these will auto link with Facebook)
    •    Publish web exclusives on YouTube as well as on station website
    •    Headline and tag each video appropriately
    •    Geotag when able
    •    Monitor comments

UStream and/or live video Webcasts

    •    Benefit of using UStream over a web chat is the ability to integrate Facebook and Twitter in the chat portion of UStream  ALSO all UStream videos can be archived and linked to YouTube, which in turn links to Facebook
    •    Set up UStream discussion panels for promotion and to raise awareness of stories
    •    Build the community
    •    Monitor comments


    •    Find existing comment policy and post it somewhere on the site where it’s accessible for all
    •    Create comment policy if one doesn’t exist
    •    Monitor comments
    •    Use social networks to promote website
    •    Assist in any interactive aspects of the website – chats, casts, etc.
    •    Update developing stories as often as possible
    •    Write/produce stories/content exclusively for the website that aren’t for the newscasts

Interactive efforts that could be expanded or implemented

    •    Foursquare – value in having reporters check-in at certain story locations?
    •    Podcasts – a weekly sports or weather podcast?
    •    Blogs – any others who would like to maintain a blog?
    •    Mobile technology – what should we be looking at? What can we look at, or is that all up to Network?
    •    Always look for what’s new or making a comeback, like will GoogleWave ever be a good tool?