Six Essential Social Media Tools for Journalists

With the emergence of social media, is the craft of journalism dying? Answer: no. In the same way that social media helps PR pros and marketers connect with journalists better, it also offers  new ways for journalists to find and report stories better.

Social media has provided tools for average Joes to become citizen journalists, and for online publications to pop up like weeds. And just as social media has changed the way news is covered and consumed, it has also provided journalists with unique new opportunities to source and share stories.

Journalist John Platt says, “A lot of readers find my articles through social media. I also use Twitter to find story ideas and even a few sources. Social media also points me to some great articles to read, which helps to keep me informed and in the process, tells me what news stories other people find to be important.”

So, how can journalists harness the power of social media more easily? Here are six essential tools and sites to use:

1. Photo-sharing apps

Photo-sharing applications, such as Instagram, provide a creative way for journalists to interact with their audiences.

Lindsey Mastis, a multimedia journalist, says, “Instagram allows me to share information and encourage viewers to tune in. My goal is to spark interest and start discussions well before the story airs. My updates mention my station, and if I know what time the story will air, I’ll mention that as well.”

2. Twitter

Twitter is an excellent tool for newsgathering and research. There are thousands of untapped sources at your fingertips and Twitter lists are an effective way to organize potential sources.

As writer John Platt said, Twitter also is great for content promotion and offers the potential of new readers discovering your work.

3. Facebook

Facebook is a great platform to post completed articles and to find sources within your network. Like Twitter, Facebook allows you to create lists, which again, is an easy and effective way to organize sources based on their expertise.

4. Delicious

Delicious is a tool that allows you to save what you like on the Internet—videos, pictures, tweets, blog posts, or articles. This will ease the research process and help you add depth to your story.

A journalism blog discussed this tool and said, “Bookmarking means you can spot related stories, issues, and sources that you might not have thought about— and more importantly, that others might have overlooked too.”

5. CoveritLive

Need to cover an event? CoveritLive is a great way to live blog an event. Live blogging allows writers to engage with their readers, as it offers your audience the opportunity to ask you questions.

CoveritLive also includes integration with Twitter, Qik for live video, or YouTube, which will make it simple to share your work across different platforms.

6. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

We’re a little biased when it comes to HARO, but it’s hard not to be when it offers journalists access to over 135,000 sources who are experts on a wide range of topics.

Freelance journalist, Erica Sandberg said, “HARO makes my professional life easy. Finding sources has been a dream—and I’ve kept in contact with them for all sorts of follow-up stories.”

On a tight deadline? Not a problem: HARO sends queries out three times a day and will tweet out urgent queries.

Not using HARO yet? Submit your first query and reach thousands of expert sources here!

What other social tools have you used as a writer or reporter?


Image via: (Creative Commons)