Journalists can’t use Twitter as a promotional “one-way street” but rather to engage with followers and develop sourcing as part of well-rounded reporting and editing, said Mark Luckie, manager of news and journalism for Twitter.
Luckie spoke Jan. 23 to Chicago Sun-Times staff and DePaul University journalism students and faculty as part of SPJ DePaul’s joint venture with the Sun-Times to develop social media training in the newsroom and classroom.
Luckie, who authored “The Digital Journalist’s Handbook” and founded the blog 10000words, guided the 70-plus in attendance through the fundamentals of setting up an account, tracking engagement, embedding tweets, using Twitter’s API and third-party tools, and sourcing and organizing a Twitter feed through by using lists. The professional and student journalists live-tweeted the event at #spjtwitter and the Sun-Times live-streamed it for staff who couldn’t attend.
— Matthew Schwerha (@MatthewSchwerha) January 24, 2013
Luckie, a former LA Times, Entertainment Weekly and Washington Post staffer, stressed engagement when using Twitter. Rather than just using the account as a news feed or promoting their own work, journalists should seek out sources, ask questions, retweet others and answer questions. In other words, practice journalism.
“Social media is social. If I only talk about myself- people are not going to talk to me in conversation.” #spjtwitter
— Monica J. Kucera (@MonicaJKucera) January 24, 2013
The event was organized through Sun-Times Managing Editor Craig Newman and social media editor Lauran Berta (a DePaul alumnus), along with SPJ DePaul’s chapter leadership. The Sun-Times graciously hosted the event at its newsroom, catering Giordano’s deep-dish pizza with salad and soft drinks.
Earlier in the day, Luckie taught a hands-on session with faculty and students at DePaul, covering basic search, account set-up and other fundamentals.
Updated: The Sun-Times has posted a collection of resources from the presentation on its Tumblr, The Mirage.
On Friday, SPJ DePaul’s executive board members will apply what they learned from Luckie by teaching social media skills at Gordon Tech High School. This marks the third consecutive year that the chapter has taught journalism skills in Chicago-area schools (Marist in 2011 and Brother Rice in 2012).