This semester, you need to have a Twitter account that is appropriate for use as part of your reporting. If you’re already on Twitter, you’re encouraged to continue using your handle. But you must identify yourself as a reporter for @CoMissourian and make sure you go through the peer review process. You do NOT need to stop tweeting about the rest of your life. You should, however, consider that your professionalism as a journalist will be connected to the account, and avoid tweets that would hurt your credibility. Review the Missourian’s social media guidelines before you do the peer review required in this class, and before you begin tweeting as part of your journalism.
If you plan to tweet from an event or breaking news situation, let the Missourian’s outreach team know and provide them with your Twitter handle. They’ll keep an eye on your feed and retweet you from the @CoMissourian or @CoMoSports account. Stop by their desk before you go. More live tweeting best practices can be found here.
Sometimes, a staff member has a Twitter account that he or she does NOT wish to connect to the Missourian. That might be the case if your previous use has been over-the-top inappropriate, if your previous use has been tied to a campaign or cause that might distract from your journalism, or if you have a large following built up that counts on tweets about a specific topic (if you’ve covered a sports team in another city, for example). If that’s the case, you should probably start a new account for your Missourian work.
Here are some links you might find useful. If you’re a Twitter newbie, start at the top of the list and work your way toward the bottom. Bookmark these links, or save them in your favorite way.
- For a funny and fundamental look at how Twitter works, check out this site. Or this one, from Twitter itself especially for newsrooms.
- This Poynter piece is a state-of-the-art guide specifically for reporters.
- Use Twitter lists to follow/subscribe to a whole bunch of people at one time: Here’s a list of journalists to follow, but there are many, many others specifically for covering certain topics.
- Here’s Twitter’s blog for journalists who want to maximize their use of the social media platform in reporting.
Oh, by the way, journalists have to be good at Internet searches. Fortunately, Mashable published this terrific infographic about how to conduct better searches.
Here’s a link to one of my blog posts that lists a bunch of cool tools for journalists.