I had the great pleasure of returning to my old stomping grounds at the Newsplex, today. For more than a year I was the social media correspondent and blogging segment guest on-air on CBS-19. Great fun, that, but my time on TV has been very limited in the last couple of years.
In addition to being included with the “talent,” (ha!) I did some consulting behind-the-scenes to help the news and sales staff with their social strategy. I returned this week, to both provide a refresher and update for the more seasoned staff members and social media orientation for the new folks.
News professionals, whether in broadcast or print, all seem to have the same issues:
- Creating definition and separation between their personal and professional personas and online lives.
- A lack of comfort in sharing what’s personal (not private) online.
- How blogging, generally thought of as a venue for opinion, can be done as an objective journalist.
- How to deal with the really nasty and downright rude comments left by viewers/readers.
A couple of approaches shared today include the concept that there is a CLEAR difference between what is considered private and being personal (and personable) online. Never mistake one for the other. Your comfort level in engaging online is important — watch how someone else you admire conducts themselves online and let that be a guide to your own behavior.
Blogging as a journalist is commonplace. If you’re telling the story behind the story, you’re providing another perspective for the audience. It should enhance the experience, not replace it. Bloggers do not have to share opinions (being a blogger and being opinionated are only coincidentally common). Bloggers are, like journalists, expected to tell the truth. What would happen if a journalist who blogged didn’t blog about their beat or the news they cover, but blogged about their life as a journalist, or their personal interests?
Trolls, or the nasty mean people who leave anonymous (or even named, public) comments on blogs, websites and Facebook pages, are really awful. No one likes to read that kind of unfiltered, sometimes WAY over the top criticism. It’s hard to simply thank them for their feedback and walk away. Establish a policy (as the Newsplex has done) that you will delete obscene and inappropriate comments. Make sure you’re showing up and entering the conversation regularly. Turns out that even trolls are more polite when they know you’re in the room.
I encouraged the team members to keep an eye on their Klout scores and set some personal goals for influence and engagement. I think it’s great to see a local news team so genuinely interested in professional development and community engagement.