journalism, news, socialmedia

Moving to digital first journalism

For journalists moving to a digital first strategy, here are some tips on digital content workflow and social media use, specifically Twitter as an initial publication platform and source of news and engagement:

But an important point to remember, as the digital media landscape changes, so does journalism (the traditional basics remain constant, accuracy, honesty…)  in the digital age, by Steve Buttry, Leading a Digital First newsroom:

Digital First newsrooms are constantly learning new tools and techniques. The Digital First editor must make training a part of the culture of the newsroom and a high priority. As staff members learn new skills, you ask them to teach colleagues through coaching, workshops, webinars and how-to blog posts… I wish you amazing and frequent success. But the experimentation required for success in a Digital First newsroom requires that you risk and celebrate failure.

Assuming you have a Twitter account (see my post Twitter for news journalists: why and how), some suggestions, ideas and best practices for a digital first workflow:

Practice writing to Tweet length  – shortened link URLs (use Bitly or similar to shorten) and RT @names, ideally less than 120 characters.

Covering live events:

Live event follow-up coverage:

Don’t leave readers hanging with unfinished stories, be transparent about errors or updates  and don’t miss opportunities to grow a story and engaging your community:

Add value to your tweets, and you will get more back, as will your followers = everyone wins:

Style I would suggest for using today, tomorrow etc. on the web should be:

Asim Butt will attempt to upset his Saturday paymasters in the Jaidka Cup tonight (Tuesday).

Stories are read on future days/from archives, so this saves some confusion – readers don’t always see the publication time/date!

Add keywords and names in headlines and intros. More likely to get clicked on and picked up by search engines.

For locally well-known sports teams e.g. in Peterborough, Posh and Panthers, write Peterborough United and Peterborough Panthers in first instance so story will get picked up by more web and social media searches

Much more on these areas of moving to digital first journalism:  How a Digital First approach guides a journalist’s work, by Steve Buttry

More Twitter tips lists

‘Twitter Tips: 11 Things to Tweet When You Have Nothing to Say’ by Hollis Thomases.

  1. Other People’s Tweets
  2. Breaking News
  3. Be a Curator – Provide a valuable service to the Twitter community in your field or specialty area by acting as a filter or curato
  4. Help Requests
  5. Thank Yous – don’t forget to credit and build relationship/credibility
  6. Evaluations, Reviews & Opinions – e.g. new equipment/tools/services you’ve used
  7. Oldies but Goodies – some of your best content might go unseen in others busy Twitter streams
  8. Think Aloud – ask a question
  9. Entertain
  10. Be a Connector – build up and share connections (also don’t forget to build relevant lists)
  11. Now … About You

The 10 best practices identified in an article by Susana Herrera and José Luis Requejo in March, reproduced by Alfred Hermida on

  • Have a voice that is credibile and reliable, but also personal and human
  • Be generous in retweets and credit others
  • Link to external material rather than simply broadcast your own content
  • Listen and respond to others
  • Provide information that adds value
  • Seek out the views of users
  • Promote the most interesting and useful content for audiences
  • Use hashtags created by the Twitter community
  • Include multimedia with tweets
  • Link to other networks where a conversation is happening, such as Facebook

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