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Journalists on Pinterest

Taking to heart the old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” some journalists are finding that Pinterest is more than just recipes and hair braiding ideas, but a significant way to share and curate news.

Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal utilized the picture-focused social media platform during Fashion Week, reported Nieman Journalism Lab. For Lawrence World-Journal’s GO! lifestyle section editor Katie Bean, Pinterest makes for an ideal platform to pin feature stories from the paper’s website and associates sites. Since Pinterest is known for appealing largely to a female audience, GO!’s stories on fashion, home ideas, crafts, and recipes make sense. “These stories have a bit longer shelf life, so they would still be interesting to people if they look a few days after it’s pinned,” she said in an email interview. “I’m not sure how many people currently think of Pinterest as a place that they would run across features stories, but to me it makes sense – Pinterest is basically a visual bookmarking site, and it’s easy to save something that you want to go back to by liking or repinning it.”

But Pinterest isn’t only about home goods and fashionistas. Tim Devaney, a national reporter with the Washington Times, uses Pinterest much like he uses Facebook and Twitter: to promote his stories. But unlike the other two social media platforms, which are more about writing a catchy headline or status update, Pinterest is about the photos, he noted. As long as your story has some sort of photo, it can be posted, he said. “The better the photo, the better the post is going to be.”

As a journalist covering business, Devaney created 20 different boards for different beats he covers in technology like Google, Facebook and Apple. This way, if someone is only interested in one specific issue or company, they don’t have to weed through other news. And he doesn’t only pin pictures leading back to his own stories, he also curates content so his readers are exposed to different angles and authors on similar topics. “I focus on getting good quality content on those boards whether it’s my story or some story on the Web,” he said. In this way, Davaney is effectively creating a brand for himself via pictures.

Although Facebook is his social media platform of choice, Davaney noted he actually prefers Pinterest to Twitter, which is surprising given its popularity. “There are already tons and tons of people on Twitter and I’m not going to be able to catch up with the people who have millions of followers, but Pinterest is something new and I feel like I can be a step ahead of the journalists on if I get into it early.”

Although Devaney and Bean mainly use Pinterest to promote articles, news organizations such the Journal Register Company’s York Daily Record, Delaware County Times, St Paul Pioneer Press and San Jose Mercury News have used the site in a variety of ways, including to run contests, noted The Buttry Diary. Meanwhile, Mashable noted in an article earlier this year that Pinterest can be used in a variety of ways for interested journalists. Rather than just posting pictures from articles, journalists can follow popular trends or even use Pinterest as a great place for stock art. Will it become as necessary a tool as Twitter has become to media professionals? It’s hard to tell, but the site is still young and Pinterest is still catching on amidst the journalistic masses.

–Katrina M. Mendolera

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