Let’s get social. For real.

Part of an ongoing blog series of notes and tips from the 2017 College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press national convention. Search by topic or “collegemedia17” on this site to find more, or #collegemedia17 on Twitter. The following is compiled by Victoria Raines.

Tools to Increase Your Social Media Following

  • There is a sense that these companies that create these awesome social media tools don’t care about us as individuals. You might lose what you have come to rely on.
  • Facebook announced they launched a new newsfeed in five different countries that eliminates all news organizations from your feed.
  • Don’t’ put all your stock in one tool. Social media is rapidly changing and unreliable.
  • Facebook shows you what you care about and what you care about is what you click on.
  • Patreon.com allows you to charge people money for your content. When they buy into you, they are invested in your work.
  • You have to build a following that interacts with your work.

Repurposing Print Content for Social

  • Every post should have a picture.
  • Go with the photographer to get a shot for social.
  • Vary your caption and headline. They shouldn’t say the same thing.
  • Make captions more attractive and luring.



What I learned: Covering a presidential debate

In this edition of “What I learned,” senior staff reporter Kathryn Cargo shares her notes on covering a presidential debate, a session she attended the College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press national convention in Austin. Thanks, Kathryn, for sharing your advice to help move The Shorthorn forward.

How to cover a presidential debate 

  • Before the debate, do pre-coverage: gather information about candidates, logistics and issues you know they might cover.
  • Live tweet, but not too much. Tweet the important points. If you tweet too much, your audience will stop reading them.
  • Be ready to run and push.
  • Keep your eye on the audience.
  • Interview the people who ask interesting questions. Ask them whether they were satisfied with the candidates answer.
  • Write your story as you go to keep from missing deadline.
  • Watch for trends. Is one side stronger than the other?
  • A general debate lede will include main points in the debate.
  • Don’t worry about chronology of the debate when writing your story. Put the most important news at the top and the least important at the bottom.
  • Avoid bias and put aside any personal opinions. Make sure to represent each candidate equally.
  • Send out a quick social media summary. You can add a photo of the audience or candidate departing.  Save the analysis and full story for later.

The Shorthorn can use this advice when covering any debate on campus or upcoming presidential debates.

Note from Beth: What are your thoughts? Add to the conversation by posting below. 


This blogger shares some good basic tips for selecting your profile picture. Please note I disagree on her comment that there is a difference between personal and professional accounts (employers and internship coordinators … and your professors … don’t see a difference). Please read, and let’s schedule a professional portraits day for the newsroom so that we can all go pro in our profiles.

These Profile Photos Make You Look Bad – Jenn’s Trends.

Social media resources for on-campus groups

UT Arlington has helped make your job as journalists a little easier. Check out this page for a list of student groups, departments and more that have social media outlets that you can join or follow to keep up with their news.

For example, if I were the Science reporter: I’d review the list, then find and follow all groups on facebook that are associated with the College of Science (student groups, etc.). That way, I can monitor and keep in touch with members in addition to the leadership.

Reporters, editors and photographers, I would take time to do this today and include it as part of your beat reporting.

Connect with UT Arlington – UT Arlington.