Today in my Ithaca College Social Media class, we Skyped with Trish LaMonte, director of digital operations for the Syracuse Media Group, and Katie Kramer, web and mobile producer/SMO specialist for Syracuse.com—both Syracuse University Newhouse alumnae. They discussed everything from best practices for news outlet social media use to what they look for in social media job applicants.
The Syracuse newspaper, The Post-Standard, made a huge push towards digital, and their online presence Syracuse.com. LaMonte said she aimed her career towards social media because she saw that everything was moving towards digital. Even internally, the push to stay current is evident.
“I think we’re constantly evolving and deciding which social media we should use and shouldn’t use,” said Kramer.
Syracuse.com has a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, and Kramer said they will sign up for certain social media accounts, like SnapChat, simply to protect brand identity so other people can’t use the name.
They said they post “less serious” content on Facebook, because it seems to get the most engagement, and are also a little more lenient with readers comments. On their site, however, they will make sure to filter comments for any cursing or derogatory phrases.
“It’s very rare that people come at us very negatively [on social media],” Kramer said. “There are sometimes that people do that, and we just ignore it because it’s not worth getting into a back-and-forth about it.”
However, they said their reporters are required to read and respond to comments on the site, provide updates and answer questions when necessary, and often actually use comments to get additional sources.
“We make a huge point of getting everybody engaged in the comments,” LaMonte said. “Reporters know now that publishing the story is just the beginning, not the end.”
When looking at social media job candidates, they said having a strong presence on social media is crucial, and that, if you’re geared towards a certain beat, engagement and continuous focus on that beat is important.
Overall, it was an inside look in the real-world journalistic applications of social media, and a reminder that our professor really does make us do all of these things for a reason.