Twitter is a driving force in today’s news coverage. We asked some advisers in the SNO network how Twitter has helped enhance their journalism programs. Here’s what they told us.
Vincent DeMiero, adviser at Mountlake Terrace High School, realized a few years ago that integrating social media into his journalism program would help it flourish. DiMiero’s paper, The Hawkeye, now has three different Twitter feeds –@MTHSHawkeye for breaking news and links to additional coverage on the website,@MTHSports for all things related to sports and activities on campus, and@MTHSWeather for, you guessed it, weather information.
DiMiero explains that the most impressive aspect of these Twitter accounts is their use in breaking news situations. He says that during a recent building evacuation, @MTHSHawkeye was the only source of information for students, parents and other local media. The editor posting the tweets was in constant contact with building administrators, law enforcement personnel and district officials throughout the incident, and having the Twitter feed helped people feel at ease during what otherwise could have been a very confusing time.
Other scholastic journalism programs are finding similar results. Jim McCrossen, journalism adviser at Blue Valley Northwest High School, relies heavily on Twitter to break news. He directs his staff to tweet anything they think may be of interest to their community, and asks that they include the newspaper’s Twitter account in the tweet. That way, editors can decide if they want to re-tweet it or craft a new tweet based on the information they’ve received. McCrossen asks faculty members to come to the paper staff first with any new announcements. He says it’s important to be the first to break news, but even more important to do so with accuracy.
Leland Mallett, journalism adviser at Legacy High School’s The Rider, has also had a great deal of success with Twitter. He says it’s important to elect a social media manager, update often (even with short, simple updates), and follow a style guide to keep posts consistent. He also recommends scheduling posts in advance; he suggests the app Buffer, which we use (and love) here at SNO!
Shameless Plea for Testimonials
The SNO Patrol has been hard at work on an overhaul of our company website. We’re hoping to unveil it within the month. But before we do that, we’d love to gather a few short “testimonials” from clients who’ve had great experiences with SNO and would be willing to recommend us to others.
We won’t toot our own horns here, and we definitely won’t tell you what to say. But if you feel inclined to write a few sentences, we’d be honored to display your comments on our shiny new site. We’d also really love to get a statement or two from non-adviser folk–principals, administrators, athletic directors, communications directors and the like.