Y. Wilson1, G. Baleria1, G. Provenzano2, W. Johnson3

1SF State University (UNITED STATES)
2Drake University (UNITED STATES)
3Clemson University (UNITED STATES)
More than 62 percent of U.S. adults get news on social media, and 18 percent do so often, according to the latest survey by Pew Research Center. [1] Those numbers are up from 2012, when Pew researchers, asking a slightly different question, found that 49 percent of U.S. adults reported seeing news on social media.

In addition, another recent study finds that the news media have “followed their audience’s lead and gone mobile,” working to make their reporting accessible to the roughly 7 in 10 adults who own a smartphone.

Thus, in today's fast-changing media landscape, it’s critical for journalists to have the right tools to report, produce and promote the news. While most reporters may use smart phones, a decent recording device and a lightweight computer or iPad, very few have added social media and apps to that toolbox. Journalism students must recognize that knowledge of diverse social media can help them find sources, develop story ideas, and promote their content.

News directors and employers in the digital media world need journalists well versed in technology and who can easily adapt to consistent changes. These days, there are many tools and apps that journalists can use to produce engaging content. At the same time, there is a mandate to communicate stories and information that hold an audience. It’s all about progressive reporting.

Preparing students for careers in journalism may begin in the classroom, but opening doors of opportunity on campus also benefits students, their respective universities, and potential employers. Professional internships with proven results help take the guesswork out of aspiring journalists’ abilities to deliver solid content.

This paper offers the latest data and best practices for engaging sources and promoting content, especially visual content, on Facebook and Twitter, two of the most popular social networks for news. In addition, it will show journalists how they can use LinkedIn, a professional network, to build thought leadership, an increasingly important part of building a journalist’s brand or reputation. These platforms, along with related knowledge of tools and apps, will help students do the work of foundational journalism in the current digital landscape.

Social media have left an indelible mark on journalism. Two-thirds of Facebook users now get their news on the site; nearly 6 in 10 of Twitter’s users get news on Twitter; and 7 in 10 of Reddit’s users get news on that platform But it’s not just about the number of people who consume news via social media, as noted by Jennifer Alejandro in her Reuters Institute Fellowship paper, Journalism in the Age of Social Media.

What makes social media of particular interest to journalism is how it has become influential as a communication and news-breaking tool.

Thus, it is critical for today’s journalism students to stay on top of social media and incorporate creativity and innovation into their storytelling. This presentation, from professors at SF State University, Drake and Clemson, will look at some of the major and emerging platforms to understand how each can help a journalist do their jobs more effectively. Platforms include: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.