Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
How The Washington Post built — and will be building on — its “Knowledge Map” feature
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 20, 2011, noon

A social-media guide for public broadcasters targets the skeptical and the ambitious

Until now, hundreds of independent NPR and PBS affiliates have had no common resource for best practices in social media.

Even though NPR and PBS have social media policies (while other news organizations choose not to and still others debate their value), hundreds of independent public broadcasters have shared no common resource for social-media best practices.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting wants to fill that gap with a newly released social media handbook for stations, which is hosted at the National Center for Media Engagement website. CPB commissioned the marketing firm iStrategy Labs to write a guide that targets a broad audience: not just the stations who need guidance, but the stations who still need convincing of social media’s value.

“There remains some hesitancy in public media toward embracing social media,” said Daniel McCoy, CPB’s product manager of media strategies. “This is a resource that we knew that stations would trust coming from CPB and NCME.”

In other words, there are a lot of social-media guides out there but none that speak directly to public media’s core values. And for many small stations, social media can be a hard sell when the news director is also the morning anchor and the metro reporter.

The handbook includes fill-in-the-blank templates for creating social media campaigns, with sections for goals, staffing, tactics, and measurement. It includes suggestions for a station’s “voice” on social media (be human, establish traditions, call for action). It includes case studies conducted over the past year that demonstrate social-media success — KQED’s one-day Groupon deal for membership, HoustonPBS’s Bon AppeTweet campaign, KPBS Radio’s, erm, lively Facebook discussion about its format change.

And it includes a guide for creating policy, as it applies to both personal accounts and work accounts. The guidelines include:

  • Make it explicitly known that your posts, thoughts, and opinions are your own, and not the station’s…
  • You are allowed to identify yourself with your station. However, once you do, all of the content you generate must be consistent with how you would present yourself in any professional situation…
  • If you post something related to your station or public media, put in a disclaimer so that people know that it is your opinion…
  • Do not post confidential or proprietary station information…
  • Use common sense…

NCME is asking for stations to email their social-media policies — anonymously — to serve as examples. In a webinar unveiling the new handbook a few days ago, an informal poll asked participants: “Does your station currently have a social media policy?” Perhaps tellingly, most respondents selected “Sort of.”

CPB also launched an interactive benchmarking tool for stations to see how their social media “understanding” compares to that of their peers throughout the system. iStrategy collected comparison data from 500 stations in December 2010.

Researchers also selected 10 stations over a four-week period for a more intensive study to determine what kind of social-media postings generated the most comments, likes, retweets, and replies. The findings appear in the handbook. Questions (“Should sake be served hot or cold?”) drove the most engagement, followed by promotion of web (not broadcast) content and links to news, the study found. A separate audience survey found that listeners and viewers who use social media overwhelmingly want local news and events information from stations, with scheduling/programming information in third place.

McCoy said the guide is designed to be shared with everyone at a station to get the most buy-in. “We wanted to attract people that aren’t necessarily the social media manager,” McCoy said.

POSTED     Sept. 20, 2011, noon
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
How The Washington Post built — and will be building on — its “Knowledge Map” feature
The Post is looking to create a database of “supplements” — categorized pieces of text and graphics that help give context around complicated news topics — and add it as a contextual layer across lots of different Post stories.
How 7 news organizations are using Slack to work better and differently
Here’s how Fusion, Vox, Quartz, Slate, the AP, The Times of London, and Thought Catalog are using Slack for workflow — and which features they wish the platform would add.
The New York Times built a robot to help make article tagging easier
Developed by the Times R&D lab, the Editor tool scans text to suggest article tags in real time. But the automatic tagging system won’t be moving into the newsroom soon.
What to read next
1119
tweets
New Pew data: More Americans are getting news on Facebook and Twitter
A new study from the Pew Research Center and Knight Foundation finds that more Americans of all ages, races, genders, education levels, and incomes are using Twitter and Facebook to consume news.
788Newsonomics: The halving of America’s daily newsrooms
If you’re lucky enough to have the right deep-pocketed owner buy your paper and steady it, you’ve won the lottery. If you’re in a town whose paper is owned by the better chains, or committed local ownership, your loss will probably be mitigated. Otherwise, you’re out of luck.
575How 7 news organizations are using Slack to work better and differently
Here’s how Fusion, Vox, Quartz, Slate, the AP, The Times of London, and Thought Catalog are using Slack for workflow — and which features they wish the platform would add.
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Global Voices
Topix
Alaska Dispatch
The Times of London
Forbes
Vox Media
Chi-Town Daily News
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
The New York Times
Mother Jones
Gawker Media
NewsTilt