By Katherine Nails
Journalism Program writer
Journalism's dance with social media may have begun as a simple two-step, but it has evolved into the most intricate of dances. To help journalists learn some new moves, the UD Journalism program brought a digital trainer to campus to work with students and professionals.
Kerwin Speight, a trainer for the Society of Professional Journalists, talked to classes on March 5-6 about how to use Facebook tools and strategies to promote their stories and themselves. He also led a special evening workshop for students and professionals that included a closer look at Instagram.
"The goal is to bridge the work that journalists are doing with the tools and the platform," Speight said.
Speight explained that journalists should publish their most eye-catching media first because they have only a brief window of time to capture a Facebook user's attention until they move on to the next item on their newsfeed.
Once journalists have the attention of their followers, he said, the key to keeping an audience interested is a diverse set of posts using a variety of media types.
Speight, an Emmy-winning journalist during his career in TV news, showed his audiences how well-known journalists such as Dan Rather have successfully used Facebook. The features include Facebook Live, CrowdTangle and the Creator app to report and promote stories.
Dennis Leizear, who teaches high school journalists at the Padua Academy, came to campus specifically for the presentation.
"It was definitely worth the trip," he wrote via email.
Leizear and other attendees may have learned the intricacies of Facebook and Instagram at the event, but soon they may have to re-educate themselves.
While Speight was on campus giving presentations, Facebook announced it will dramatically shift how its news feed functions. Instead of the current "town square" set-up, the news feed will be more like a "living room" and focus on users' close friends.
While this change has yet to be implemented, the announcement means that journalists will have to re-learn how to use the platform, learning new steps as the dance changes once again.