Social Media Syllabus: General Assignment Reporters

May 4, 2012

Purpose: To establish a comprehensive understanding of your local online community that you can tap into for future storytelling, promotion and breaking news situations.

Summary: As a general assignment reporter, you are producing a lot of diverse stories about your community. They are reaching your radio audience, some visitors of your site and possibly some of your followers. But there’s an untapped online audience that you can tap into. This training will teach you ways to use social media as a way to tell your stories, connect with people in your community and cover live news events. 

Time commitment: Participants will spend about three hours each week on assignments, one-on-one critiques and webinars. 

Goals: At the conclusion of three weeks it is expected that you will…

·       See a noticeable increase in relevant Twitter followers.

·       Be part of online conversations about your local community.

·       Have a list of online sources to possible use for future stories and breaking news situations.

Twitter Contest: The first step toward Twitter success is tweeting. It sounds funny but if you want a bigger audience, frequency and consistency is key. In order to encourage this behavior (and to add some fun and friendly competition into the training), we’re holding a little contest among training participants.

First Place (Really cool NPR swag): Most tweets over three-week period.

Second Place (Cool NPR swag): 30 tweets or more each week.

Third Place (Just regular NPR swag): 20 tweets or more each week.

WEEK 1: Identify Your Community (May 14-18)

Monday (May 14)

Kick-off video with all reporters where the three weeks are outlined and the first project is assigned. We will offer multiple times for this call.

Project 1: Make a Twitter list of 20 newsmakers and influencers relevant to your local community and then follow them. Create a Twitter list of them. Identify three hashtags related to your local community. E-mail Eric the hashtags and a link to your Twitter list.

Required reading:

Finding Folks to Follow on Twitter (Argo)

A Guide To Audience Building and Engagement (State Impact)

Tuesday (May 15)

Webinar: How to Build Your Online Audience

What we cover: There’s no magic way to gain followers and Likes overnight. But there are some key steps you can take to help build your community.

Time: 11 a.m. ET

AND

Work on Project 1

Wednesday (May 16)

Work on Project 1

Thursday (May 17)

Webinar: How to Build Your Online Audience

What we cover: There’s no magic way to gain followers and Likes overnight. But there are some key steps you can take to help build your community.

Time: 2 p.m. ET

AND

Project 1 is due. E-mail a summary of what you did and relevant links to Eric eathas@npr.org and Ki ksung@npr.org.

Friday (May 18)

Eric and Ki are available throughout the day for questions

Project feedback is provided in two forms:

·       A 3-minute video critique of all projects.

·       Individual one-on-one e-mailed reviews.

WEEK 2: Connect with your community (May 21-25)

Monday (May 21)

Project 2 is assigned: Use social media to find information and sources for a story either you or a colleague is working on.

Required reading:

Geek tip: Twitter’s best-kept secret (Argo)

Twitter Tips for Journalists (Steve Buttry)

What 12 journalists learned about community engagement and human interaction at SXSW (Poynter)

Tuesday (May 22)

Webinar: How to Use Twitter to Cover Live Events and Stories

What we cover: Live-tweeting is one of the best ways to practice the craft, gain followers and draw attention to your reporting. We talk about how to do it well.

Time: 11 a.m. ET

AND

Work on Project 2

Wednesday (May 23)

Work on Project 2

Thursday (May 24)

Webinar: How to Use Twitter to Cover Live Events and Stories

What we cover: Live-tweeting is one of the best ways to practice the craft, gain followers and draw attention to your reporting. We talk about how to do it well.

Time: 2 p.m. ET

AND

Project 2 is due. E-mail a summary of what you did and relevant links to Eric eathas@npr.org and Ki ksung@npr.org.

Friday (May 25)

Eric and Ki are available throughout the day for questions

Project feedback is provided in two forms:

·       A 3-minute video critique of all projects.

·       Individual one-on-one e-mailed reviews.

WEEK 3: Using Social Media to Tell the Story (May 28-June 1)

Monday (May 28 --  Memorial Day)

Project 3 is assigned: Pick one story. Open up your notebook and give your audience a look behind the reporting before, during and after. Also, enable Facebook Subscribe and begin posting to your page.

Required reading:

New Facebook data show 7 keys to maximum engagement for journalists (Poynter)

Vadim Lavrusik: 10 ways journalists can use Facebook (Journalism.uk)

10 ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story (Poynter)

Tuesday (May 29)

Webinar: How Reporters Can Use Facebook Subscribe

What we cover: Case studies and success stories around this new reporting tool.

Time: 11 a.m. ET:

AND

Work on Project 3

Wednesday (May 30)

Work on Project 3

Thursday (May 31)

Webinar: How Reporters Can Use Facebook Subscribe

What we cover: Case studies and success stories around this new reporting tool.

Time: 11 a.m. ET:

AND

Project 3 is due. E-mail a summary of what you did and relevant links to Eric eathas@npr.org and Ki ksung@npr.org.

Friday (June 1)

Eric and Ki are available throughout the day for questions

Project feedback is provided in two forms:

·       A 3-minute video critique of all projects.

·       Individual one-on-one e-mailed reviews.