Social media (and children)- the future

UNTJ4460- PR Communication

Last week I had the honor of representing the Mayborn at The Dallas Morning News’ (TDMN) High School Journalism Day.

In between helping Dean Bland recruit high school students, I got the chance to sit in on one of the sessions.

The Dallas Morning News’ Mike McCray and Christy Robinson talked to students about how the newspaper uses social media.

Christy Robinson is a digital communities specialist. Her presentation was inspired by the book Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger. She highlighted some of the topics brought up in the book. Each post linked back to a Dallas Morning News article.

  • Good news offers practical advice
    • Examples: National Margarita Day post, GuideLive, Pinterest posts, list articles
  • Good posts make people feel like an insider
    • For examples, posts like, reasons why Dallas is better than Houston provide readers with social currency
  • A good post tells a story
  • A good post triggers associations
    • Nostalgia, impactful, life-changing stories
  • Good posts evoke emotions

Stories and posts with more that one of the above do the best, in terms of engagement (shares, likes, etc.)

McCray, who is a digitail content promotions coordinator talked about how much Twiiter has changes since its early days. In order for news to work on social media, these elements should be considered:

  • Journalistic integrity
  • Is it fascinating to you?
  • Understand the nuances of the platform you are using
  • Timing
  • Make it engaging

TDMN also uses social media analytics and apps to test photos and headlines. They find that Facebook drives more news than Twitter.

As a public relations professional I have never thought about social media from a news standpoint. I use social media (Twitter more than Facebook) to follow the news. I follow many news organizations, journalists and editors. But I have never thought about the strategies that they use to ensure that people read their stories, especially in a world where digital is

During lunch, I had an interesting conversation with Micheal Landauer, who is TDMN’s digital communities manager. He mentioned monetizing social media, which is something that I have never thought about. In classes so far, we have heard that social media is free, unless you are paying a promoted post. I have never thought about creating a way that a company or organization can make money from social media. I know that I do not want my career to focus on social media, but I want to have enough knowledge about social to be able to incorporate it in an overall communications plan.

As social media continues to evolve, I hope that I learn about ways that social media can benefit an organization financially. That can be one more way a communications professional can prove their value to an organization.

Side note: This week there was an accident at in Argyle ISD facility. The students at The Talon, the high school’s student run newspaper were the first on the scene.



Kudos to the staff of the Talon because they also won big at TDMN competition for high school students. Even though they are only a few years younger than me, these are journalists that will receive my eager story pitches. These are the journalists that will be persistent in getting an interview with my boss.


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