TIPA Notes: Using social media effectively

Over the next week, your colleagues will share their thoughts and notes from what they learned during the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Fort Worth last weekend.

How to effectively use social media (to keep your journalism job)
Led by: Daniel Rodrigue, Dallas Observer contributing writer/photographer

Description: In the past five years, the branded icons and buttons of various social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit, started popping up on the websites of nearly every major media outlet. Nowadays, every “like” or share means more readers interacting without content, and most editors expect staff to be active on social media sites. We know “sharing” our stories online is one of the most important ways we can funnel traffic to our work, but how can we effectively use social media to bump up our page views.

Rodrigue started out the session telling the eager minds of college journalists adapting to this digitally-driven world; he said at least four really great journalists he knows have been fired from their reporter jobs for not getting enough online hits to their stories.

In this day and age he said even email is too slow.

Speaking of a constantly changing media: Last semester we learned a lot about SEO and how important it is to the online story. But Rodrigue says that it is not as important as something else.

Sentences such as “Oh my God you’ll never believe what so and so did/wore/ate” will get more clicks than articles loaded with keywords.

So here is a breakdown of the session

HASHTAGS
– Hashtags are great, but make sure you are using the one that has the most traffic (do your research). For example he brought up the whole “what’s the tipa hashtag” controversy. People are using both #tipa13 and #tipa2013

DEMOGRAPHICS AND ANALYTICS
– Chart Beats is a good app to use for measuring analytics
– Facebook: Old People
– Pinterest: Woman
– Reddit: Young Men
– Tumblr/Instagram: Teens and hipsters

OLD RULES THAT STILL APPLY TODAY (WITH SOCIAL MEDIA)
– Spelling
– Know your readers (and engage them)
– Lead with the news
– Trickle the news

POSTING
– The magic hour for posting is  p.m. (3-4:55 to be exact). The second best time is 11-12:30 p.m.
– Repost your top stories more than once a day, especially on Twitter. On Facebook it is recommended to repost them by sharing a photo because photos trick the algorithm to make the story last longer and show up more. He also suggested using this (ICYMI) with reposts. It means in case you missed it.
-Tag everyone and everything involved in the story on Twitter and Facebook.
– With Twitter pull out unusual facts and quirky moments from the story to lead with.
– Putting NSFW will automatically get more hits

Finally, the last thing he said was that trolls are GREAT because they get people talking. He posed the question that would you be more likely to click on a story with two comments or 76?

Convention notes: Contests, creativity and being comfortable

Design Editor Jose Enriquez shares more of his notes from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Corpus Christi: 

For those that don’t know, I competed in the News Design contest. I went in there thinking this would be easy, and I wasn’t the only person to think that. The designers that I spoke to all had this cocky idea that it would be better than the former years, and it was, because it wasn’t cut and paste anymore – technology!

However, this was the hardest contest that I have ever competed in because of the work involved. We were given six stories, a few crappy photos, a masthead and an hour and half to put something together that we normally take an hour to plan out (budget), 10 to 15 minutes to read each story as it comes in, and execution, which can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour or two. In this quick analysis, I would say that we could have used another hour to put a plan together.

What I actually learned is that we often become too comfortable with our libraries, which dictate how fonts and styles are used. We depend on the basic layout of a story package to be laid out already because of the libraries. My creative streak was hiding, and I choked, because while I had the libraries, I didn’t have the fonts (and that reset the font styles of the libraries).

We need to remember to stay on our creative toes. We never know what will happen. I think a great way to do this might be to stray away from the library, and produce stories without it. We still have paragraph styles to help organize a layout, but we need to familiarize ourselves with various ways of thinking, and we tend to get stuck in one pattern.

Overall, I had a really excellent time. My favorite part, which was sort of part of the competition, was the thrum that arose from the designers and laptops. It’s amazing to see so many competitors working toward a common goal, not to mention I have now networked with a few of them. We share ideas!

Thanks, Jose.

Convention notes: Write headlines that rock

Design Editor Jose Enriquez shares his notes from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association in Corpus Christi: 

“Write a headline for this session” by George Tanner, Scripps regional production desk

Here are a few of the suggestions Tanner made, which aren’t very different from what we are taught, but sometimes don’t apply. These are my favorites, but I also have headline notes, so staff can read over them because they’re all important.

To be or not to be “is” the question: The verb “to be” is not necessary. It can be used, but in most cases should be avoided. ONLY use “to be” “is” “was” for clarity. This is a favorite because too often do we use “to verb.”

“Polly want a cracker?” Stealing the lede for a great headline. Don’t do it.

Thanks, Jose. Check out the .pdf attached to this post for the rest of the notes. Leave your comment on crafting headlines here.

Convention notes: Revitalize your news publication

Design Editor Jose Enriquez shares his notes from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Corpus Christi.

Ten steps to revitalize the look of your publication by Michael Currie, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Design Director

Currie states that there are 10 steps to liven up the design of any newspaper.

1. Don’t wait
As a designer, we should, in some instance, always be thinking about what we do for a story to make it stand out. We can do this by reading the budget lines and conversing with the reporter to build better packages.

2. Risks Continue reading

Convention notes:

Photographer Richard Hoang shares his notes and thoughts from the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention in Corpus Christi.

TIPA Follow Up
My learning experience from TIPA was gained mostly through the contests and the sessions that I attended. I would like to say that the contests really tested my abilities when it came to pursuing and working really hard for the “best photo.” Working with Casey allowed me the opportunity to collaborate my ideas along with his experience to come up with more unique shots. During the sports contest I was able to learn from other fellow photographers who were also there in learning what works as a good photo and what would make the best kind of photo that encompasses the players more so than the actual game. Always being over prepared is always a better option than not.
The sessions I went to consisted of “Putting Together a Morning News Show” by John Thomas and Caitlin Espinosa and “How to survive the newsroom as a journalist and an anchor” by Joe Gazin, both from KIII TV, Corpus Christi. Continue reading