September 30, 2009

8 ways to use social media in the newsroom

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JD LasicaFor the annual conference of the Online News Association this weekend, I’ve pulled together two new printable handouts: 8 ways to use social media in the newsroom, available at, and 6 Twitter tools for journalists (PDF — and see the accompanying post). I’m speaking on the aptly named Social Media Mania panel on Saturday.

I think these are two of the nicer handouts I’ve produced, using Apple Pages, part of the iWork suite. These downloadable documents are part of the ongoing series of social media guides and tutorials that Socialbrite has been producing for social change organizations, nonprofits, journalists and anyone interested in effective use of social media.

While the PDFs are spiffy-looking, they’re less than optimal for search engines and for the disabled, so I’ll mirror the handouts here in html.

8 ways to use social media in the newsroom


1An uber-aggregator of your feeds, FriendFeed is like Twitter but easier to organize. You can post more than 140 characters, organize private or public rooms and get a feed of your friends as an e-mail. But FriendFeed is more than an aggregation tool: It’s a virtual watering hole where you can see what’s on the mind of your friends and colleagues.

Search the real-time Web

2Find out what people are talking about online right now — chances are you can turn a meme into a story. Tools include Twitter Search, Tweetmeme, OneRiot, Scoopler.

Flip out!

flip3We’re all multimedia journalists now, right? Never let another eye-catching moment or newsworthy subject slip by: A Flip cam ($199 for hi-def version) lets you easily add a visual element to a story. Users are more likely to jump into a conversation around a video on your site than a text-only article. Kodak’s Zi8 is also a good choice.


4The service, which is free for Skype-to-Skype calls and inexpensive for calls to land and mobile lines, lets you conduct and record interviews with industry leaders in the US or overseas. A nice bonus: You can capture it as a video chat, upload it to YouTube, embed it and invite readers to comment on your site.

Start an instant social network

gustav5That’s what NPR’s Andy Carvin did with the Ning. Dozens of people chipped in valuable info as Hurricane Gustav rumbled toward landfall. You needn’t wait for a disaster: Pop open a free social network on Ning (or a similar site like KickApps) around a topic that may generate community interest.

Become an online radio host

6Sign up with BlogTalkRadio (it’s free) to host live call-in shows about your beat or specialty. Do it weekly to gather a following.

Live blogging

7Live-blogging a newsworthy event has an advantage over live-tweeting: Your coverage can generate comments for months. CoveritLive is the best of the lot; it includes integration with Twitter, Qik for live video and YouTube pre-recorded video.

Upload & embed video

8Lots of large companies have begun creating YouTube channels. And even more have begun embedding high-quality videos, like TED Talks. Nervous? Sites like, Viddler, Kaltura and Brightcove offer paid commercial uploads.
JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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8 thoughts on “8 ways to use social media in the newsroom

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