Giovanna Drpic, an award-winning bilingual local and network journalist of 20 years, detailed different tools to help journalists optimize their social media content.
As platforms like Facebook shifted into spaces for discourse, it became important for newsrooms to engage with their communities online, according to Drpic.
As an individual, Drpic said building a presence is vital for serving the community by sharing relevant news and getting an audience involved.
Drpic cautioned against sharing opinions on social media as a journalist, “on the presidency, on legalizing marijuana, on anything.”
“On Facebook, you should listen to other people’s opinions,” she said. “That’s how you use opinions as a tool.”
Facebook offers a personal and a page profile, where businesses and more established presences use the page profile because there are different resources, fan follows and feed preferences that come with it.
Drpic encourages coming up with original content to strengthen pitches and angles, which can start with these platforms.
“As a journalist, all these social media platforms allow you to get to those communities you wouldn’t be able to reach, especially during COVID,” she said.
From Facebook search to CrowdTangle, these news gathering tools can be practical by quickly finding human interest stories and information that might not be getting covered.
Social media can also be used to share what reporting in the field looks like, with Facebook lives and sharing behind-the-scenes videos.
“People want to see how the sausage is made,” Drpic said. “They want to know what you went through. Give them that color, that flavor, that they’re looking for.”
People interact six times more on Facebook live videos in comparison to regular videos, she shared. Drpic recommended using live videos when reporting in-person to show what is going on in real time.
Drpic said people also connect more with videos when there is emotion, easy consumption, natural interaction, local perspective and uplifting narratives.
While these tools can help grow an audience and serve the public, Drpic stresses staying safe on social media, saying safety measures are vital to being a reporter as attacks against journalists persist.
“I have been harassed,” she said. “I have been bullied. It’s a hard time in this job and while we want to get stories out, we also want to be safe.”
Her main social media takeaways are to use an authentic voice, admit when making a mistake online, and safely engage with followers.
“There are ways to do it right and there are ways to reach out to these communities,” she said. “We can all learn from each other. It’s a tough job but it’s rewarding.”