Tips from Reddit: Explore Before You Post, Find Your Local Communities

May 13, 2014

Victoria Taylor is 'chooter' on reddit.
Credit reddit.com

The website reddit can be a place for unique story ideas and a way to reach new audiences in your communities.

But don’t just plunge in and start posting your story links – the culture of reddit looks down on self-promotion and it can even get you banned from the site.

Reddit’s Director of Communications Victoria Taylor joined us to give us an overview of the reddit ecosystem on May 30. There is a lot of everything on reddit, most of it not directly useful to a local newsroom, but there are some ways to find those story ideas and new audiences if you know where to look. 

Here are some key tips from the presentation, and don't miss our previous talk with WAMU and KBIA about how they have used reddit in their newsrooms.

Explore First

Reddit's culture, language and huge amount of content can be hard to get used to. Try starting with a few communities, known as subreddits, related to your interests and location.

Fill in your city: reddit.com/r/fillinyourcity, ​or search at reddit.com/search. Subscribe to a few, and check in on them once a week or so to see what types of stories and conversations are happening.

You can even create a 'multireddit', a page that combines all the subreddits you want to check in on in one place. For each subreddit, check out the rules about what and how to post and interact on the right hand side - they are different in every community.

For example, if I was a reporter at a station in Seattle, I would start by scanning conversations and posts in reddit.com/r/seattle and reddit.com/r/washington to see if there were any interesting story ideas. Or, if I covered transportation in Boston and was writing about biking, I could search "Boston Bikes" to see if there were any specific subreddits, conversations or news about the biking community in Boston. And here's an example of a multireddit - this combines several Boston-area subreddits on one page.

Follow the 9/10 Rule

Reddit communities frown on self-promotion. If you think you have a great resource or story for them, follow the 9/10 rule: only 10 percent of your posts should be your own content, if that. 

 

Be Transparent About Your Motives and Who You Are
The staff of NHPR show Word of Mouth join in conversations on reddit and look for ideas for shows there - but are clear about who they are by using a Word of Mouth Radio username.

If you're posting looking for sources, story ideas or commenting on stories about something you're covering, be transparent about who you are. You can do this by creating a 'professional' reddit username that you use as a reporter or representative of your station, or by making sure to note your affiliation when commenting on something. Victoria recommended messaging potential questions to people using reddit's messaging system, and not putting personal information such as a phone number or email in a post or comment.

 

See What People Are Saying About Your Stories

A handy tool Victoria shared is how you can see what people are sharing stories from your site. Go to reddit.com/domain/YOURSITE to see the comments people have and how they're sharing stories. Consider jumping in to the conversation if you have answers to questions or see if there are any ideas for angles to take for a follow-up story.

Try an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

An AMA, or Ask Me Anything, is basically a Q and A with the reddit community. NPR's staff has used them to share their expertise on stories they've worked on, their general expertise and more. This is a good fit if you have a story or topic that has a lot of interest in your community, or if you are a well-known personality or have something unique to share, and are open to answering all types of questions- there is a reason it is called ask me anything. You can hold one in the big iAMA subreddit, or even in your own local subreddit.

If you want to do one in your local subreddit, like this Boston Globe reporter did, message the moderators of the subreddit to make sure it is ok before you do. If you want to do one in iAMA, Victoria recommended reaching out to her via email at victoria@reddit.com ahead of time to find the best time and day to do it. 

Stay tuned for the video from Victoria's session, and for more tips on how to use reddit in your newsroom, check out the following resources: