Week 16 – Social Media

Due to the tight turn around of the assignment, instead of doing your reading and research and preparing for assignment on Weds-Friday. You will need to do preparatory readings set here and independently research and prepare for your assignment. Each student teams assignment will be slightly different and each team will be given their rough assignment brief (platform, content type, and topic) on Monday evening so that you can do some targeted research and preparation on Tuesday.  

Please also print and bring this exercise worksheet to class: IMMJMA SMW NEWS-GATHERING Follow & Monitor

SCHEDULE

  • 4th Jan: (In Classroom) 
  • 1-Day Social Media Workshop with former student Andrea Verdelli http://www.lensculture.com/andrea-verdelli
  • 5th Jan: (In Classroom)
  • Introduction to Social Media & Audience Engagement
  • The BIG 3 – Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
  • USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR JOURNALISM:
  • ANALYTICS
  • 6th Jan: (In Classroom) 
  • ETHICS FOR SOCIAL MEDA (INCLUDING AS A MAJOR SUBTOPIC VERIFICATION)
  • CREATING JOURNALISTIC CONTENT FOR NATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
  • Assignment Introduction & Brainstorming Session
  • 7th Jan – Social Media Assignment

CORE SOCIAL MEDIA TOPICS

  • 1) USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR JOURNALISM:
    – NEWS-GATHERING
    – DISTRIBUTION
    – AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
  • 2) ANALYTICS
  • 3) ETHICS FOR SOCIAL MEDA (INCLUDING AS A MAJOR SUBTOPIC VERIFICATION)
  • 4) CREATING JOURNALISTIC CONTENT FOR NATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

ASSIGMENT  – DEADLINE: SUNDAY MIDNIGHT

In a team of two create a single piece / or a small series of native journalistic content for your assigned platform. The content should be optimised for your assigned platform. Use your own social media platforms to publish the assignment and in addition embed or insert the link of the work published on your assigned social media platform to your digital platforms so that tutors can see the assignment as published on social media. This is your final assignment, our expectations are high, we expect that mistakes made earlier in the term have now been rectified and tutors will be looking professional, polished work.

Students will be placed in teams of 2. Instead of the usual general assignment for each student, Each student team will have a specific assignment brief including a specific platform and a specific type of journalistic content. Each team will create a single piece / or a small series of native content for their assigned platform. Note that some platforms have a variety of ‘types’ of native content, for example, Facebook has one assignment for Live Video team and a different assignment for the Readable Video team. We have tried to stick to what’s trending right now – you’ll need to research your teams’ platform and content type very well in order to prepare.

When assessing your work, tutors will be looking at the quality of the journalism underpinning your stories, the storytelling, technique, editing, and presentation – and we’ll also be looking at audience engagement! Did people click, like, comment, share? Which pieces worked and which didn’t and why. There are 5 specific assignments in total and as we have 18 students that means that there will be two teams working on most assignment categories – So you’ll have some competition! See the specific assignments below:

  • FACEBOOK LIVE – See http://training.npr.org/social-media/nprs-facebook-live-guide/
  • FACEBOOK READABLE VIDEO – this is a little similar to the very first video assignment, AJ+ was one of the first to introduce this now ubiquitous format. There should be a big improvement on the first assignment, both the reporting, editing and the title design will be important.
  • INSTAGRAM STORY – please spend plenty of time looking at Instagram stories. The Guardian “True or Fake” is a nice example of something very different. But students can do as they please. Pictures, videos, text or a mix as they see fit.
  • INSTAGRAM PHOTO ESSAY – a stills photo essay – in the traditional sense (see assignment 1). You can choose a gallery or series. The gallery impacts the captions of course. OR INSTAGRAM ‘STORY PORTRAIT’ ESSAY – a stills series of portraits with captions. Tim Franco’s recent work is a good example, there are others.
  • TWITTER – a single or series that incorporates visual journalism

Your assignment should be VISUALACCESSIBLE and have NEWS VALUE. Be sure to stick to native content, for example, a Twitter video is 45 seconds, Instagram videos are 60 seconds whereas on Facebook you have more flexibility!


Assignment Guidelines

Assessment checklist & pointers – Be clear on assessment criteria before you set out
  • All teams MUST provide one single SM journalistic content that provides a ‘style inspiration’ – you should do this is via a brief paragraph on your own digital platform
  • All teams must publish by the deadline to their specific platform
  • And in addition, all teams must embed or post the link of the SM publication to their digital platform. (Tutors need to see the work as published via SM platform, as we will be assessing audience engagement etc)
  • Students should publish to native platforms using your own accounts. If the content is good enough we will publish to our IMMJMA public facing accounts.
  • Quality of journalism – accurate, fair, balanced
  • Quality of journalism – credible, diverse sources
  • Quality of journalism – informative and compelling
  • Quality of journalism – had a clear focus
  • Quality of technique/equipment – competent use of equipment + good editing etc
  • Clear Research – ie, it needs to be clear that students understand how media orgs and freelancers are using the platform they are assigned
  • Creative + Innovative – (If enough research is done, this will come naturally)
  • Audience Engagement – Likes, shares, comments etc (checked after 5 days – that means you need to share it immediately on publication and as widely as you possibly can!)
  • Post optimisation appropriate to platform
  • If you create video content your video MUST have a header thumbnail and title. No random frames! You need something that people will click on.
TIPS
  • SM needs to grab people fast – the first 3-5 seconds are critical – use the strongest visuals and materials
  • SM needs to be visual – visuals need to be very well planned an anticipate
  • We’ve given them very targeted platforms and types of content – but actually, there is a lot of freedom still, they’ll need to be creative and really plan well. They should, however, have a solid inspiration in mind. Maybe they like the BBC stories for some reason or maybe they like the way a certain photographer or media org used insta stories? They need an inspiration or idea to emulate BEFORE reporting.
  • You will need to do your own research of your assigned platform well before the assignment to get an idea of how journalists and media organisations use specific platforms
  • If you want to use your mobile phone to report this story you may – that’s up to you. It will somewhat depend on your chosen style inspiration. If you do use mobile we expect excellent quality and great audio!
  • Duration – as long as it needs to be or native timings. You should think about this at the planning stage.

CLASS NOTES

Here are the concepts and skills that will be covered by your tutor in class, however you should read these notes ahead of the class in order to prepare:

1a) USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR JOURNALISM: NEWS GATHERING

  • Gathering sources and material. As journalists working on a story or beat – you’ll need to find a wide range of voices, ideas, eyewitness or people impacted by an issue – and even find actual subjects and experts for your stories.
  • WATCH – http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/journalism/article/art20130702112133515
  • Journalists obviously use SM in breaking news – we will look at examples in class.
  • SM can also be used of course for longer / feature stories.
  • SM can be used to find subjects and sources to interview
  • SM can be used to source eyewitness media that can be utilized

1b) USING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR JOURNALISM: DISTRIBUTION (Publishing work and reporting):

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 11.45.30

  • Get stories out into the world! Either in short form or to drive people to longer form content on your site/page.
  • Both big orgs and freelancers use various social media to report and publish work…
  • Teasers or snippets (pushing audiences to bigger projects on site)
  • Show the backstory while they are reporting
  • Live reporting (twitter / FB etc) – Facebook live is useful and still popular.
  • The assignment revolves around creating content – examples will be given in class
  • Optimising SM posts: You will need to make media viewable/playable within the post itself if possible. (i.e.) not linking to a page with a youtube video, but using the youtube URL itself so it plays. If it’s your own content you might upload directly so video plays as audience scrolls. (1 min for FB & Insta, 45 secs for Twitter)
  • Using hashtags – how and why!
  • Using @mentions – how and why!
  • Clear and concise – sentences need to always be well considered and crafted

1c) AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

2) ANALYTICS

  • Quick intro to the concept of how important and increasingly sophisticated analytics have become for many news orgs. (For the good and the bad).
  • This is now a skill set that’s seriously in demand in many news orgs.
  • You will learn the basic skills for monitoring audience engagement, including:
    – Facebook insights
    – Twitter analytics
    – Instagram

3) SOCIAL MEDIA ETHICS

3a) SOCIAL MEDIA ETHICS – Accuracy:

  • This is one of the absolute fundamentals of journalism (accuracy, fairness, and balance). Your ability to be accurate will impact your grades (poor journalism will fail, however good it looks)
  • Plus it will also certainly impact our own references for jobs and internships. If we see students that are professional we will state that when referring them on, helping them to pitch and writing references. If we see a poor level of professionalism we will most certainly state that. So how do they get things right? We will cover this during class.

3b) SOCIAL MEDIA ETHICS – Verification:

  • Double check everything! Make notes when reporting – don’t trust your memory. If you are not sure, ask! and fact check! Check facts from second sources.
  • Question and verify your sources – you might watch http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/journalism/article/art20130702112133524
  • Eyewitness media can be amazing, giving you on the ground information and insights. But it needs strict verification. If you use eyewitness information you’ll need to carefully examine their digital footprint. What kind of things do they typically post? Do they appear credible? Are they accountable – are they anonymous or clear about who they are? Can you contact them directly for confirmation – if so do! Call them! Much better to call than sending a message, a phone call is more candid, you’ll be able to tell much better if they are credible or not. Can you cross check the information they provide with another source?
  • If you can’t verify the facts, you may still decide to publish when relevant but you’ll need to make it VERY CLEAR that the information has not been verified is disputable.
  • Checking photos and videos by checking the weather forecast, environment etc. Use tools such as Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye Reverse Image Search.
  • Has the video or photo been edited perhaps, is context missing? Or has it been tampered with?
  • Don’t publish eyewitness media content in your own reporting without considering consent or crediting. Heres a great guide below – we suggest printing and saving. firstdraft-vvg-photo-ALL.png

 

3c) SOCIAL MEDIA ETHICS – Your own brand:

  • Employers will be looking at your SM accounts, we look at them too when considering you for the program. If a student already has a professional social media presence it’s quite a huge boost. You can also show future employers the IMMJ posts and accounts that you have been responsible for, most will be pretty happy if you have some basic knowledge and can demonstrate professionalism. Notice how are public facing accounts are different from our private group!
  • TOP TIPS from ASNE’s best practice guidelines for editors creating social news policies
  • 1. Traditional ethics rules still apply online.
    2. Assume everything you write online will become public.
    3. Use social media to engage with readers, but professionally.
    4. Independently authenticate anything found on a social networking site.
    5. Be transparent and admit when you’re wrong online.

4) CREATING JOURNALISTIC CONTENT FOR NATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS

  • Both Yan and Sharron have talked about this controversial issue in theory and practice. (FB and Google being the winners and media orgs being the losers of that critical advertising revenue) (Plus publishers being somewhat at the mercy of Facebook algorithms) (Formats that instead of being creative, all to look the same – readable video can work, but often dumbs things down) (filter bubbles) Then, on the other hand, there are real benefits to native content.
  • Producing tailored content for specific platforms is not going away soon and can be useful and reach a wide audience! – and that’s the assignment this week.
  • We will show plenty of examples in class of all platforms, feeding you with inspiration for your team assignments.

5) ASSIGNMENT – JOURNALISM FOR NATIVE PLATFORMS

  • In this week’s assignment, the class will act as one newsroom. Just as large newsrooms have separate and specific native platforms teams.
  • TOPIC TO BE CONFIRMED IN CLASS ON 5TH JANUARY.
  • Each team must devise a distribution strategy that is unique to each of their social media outlets.
  • This assignment will challenge you to think strategically about how you use different social media to cover stories.
  • We shall cover the platforms and the assignment requirements for each team in class. But teams will get a head up on Monday so you can prepare.

ESSENTIAL VIEWING/READING BEFORE CLASS

GENERAL

SPECIFIC TO SOCIAL MEDIA ASSIGNMENT

ADDITIONAL LINKS AND RESOURCES
(You do not need to read all of these but DO read the ones you are particularly interested in – the more you cover now, the better prepared you will be for class)

SPECIFIC READING FOR PLATFORM TEAMS
(When you learn of your team on Monday, please read these additional links)

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Vertical video – a good idea to try out!

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