So much newsroom progress, still working on it

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the progress of my newsroom with social media. Too long, really. When I started this blog, social media was in its infancy and getting reporters on board with it was like pulling teeth. Nine years and two corporate owners later, social media is now a company-wide priority focus for our digital strategy. It’s a good thing we’ve had exposure to it for so long because we’re in an excellent position to do some great work.

I’ve been promoted to something called an ‘Audience Development Editor’ and my primary focus is to find ways to grow our digital audience. An ‘Audience Development Coordinator’ has been added to the staff (which is basically just someone replacing me in my old job) who handles the day-to-day social posting.

I still work with the reporters to get them to post how I want them to – sometimes it’s still like pulling teeth to get them to come on board with what I need them to do. We have 5 news reporters and 3 sports reporters. Four of the news reporters have worked here longer than I have (I’m in my 12th year here) and entrenchment is one of my battles. One reporter is a fresh-faced, just-out-of-college who’s been steeped in social media for a long time and understands its importance. She’s excited about it. She enthusiastically sends me ideas for using tools like Storify and Spotify playlists and Timelines and sometimes I just want to weep at her excitement for these things I love.

A lot of times I feel like the entrenched reporters don’t take what I love to do seriously because they just don’t get it. They’ll tweet – because they have to thanks to orders from on high – but they’re not good at it. They don’t take any time to learn how it could benefit them.

So that’s frustrating for us.

Some of the things we’ve implemented to try and impress upon them the importance of all this social stuff:

  • Installed Chartbeat on two monitors in our small newsroom so everyone can see how our website is doing in realtime as well as see latest tweets/FB posts. – Successful.
  • Bought 2 iPads for the newsroom to use when covering meetings or other events. – They are not used enough.
  • Working on getting dual monitors for all of the reporters so that they can run Tweetdeck  during their shifts – So far 2 reporters and the city manager have the monitors. Only one uses it for Tweetdeck. The others just like the extra screen real estate.
  • My audience guy and I attend every morning reporter meeting and talk to the staff about our successes in gaining traffic (popular FB posts etc.) as well as share a social media tip every morning.
  • Facebook boosts for news stories. We had mostly been using our FB boost budget to promote revenue stuff like contests, but we had a corporate visitor the other day who said it would be beneficial to up the budget as much as we can, and start doing one-day-ish boosts of news stories that are doing well on social. So I’ve been doing that for the last week. Definite improvement.

I’m sure there’s more but I need to wind this post up. The tl;dr version of this post is we’ve come a long way but we still have a ways to go.