Social media apps key for today’s journalists

Traffic stop on U.S. Route 1 in College Park, Md. (Taken with Instagram)

Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr make for easy-share experience while working the beat

By now the tech market is saturated with mobile tools and applications to boost your productivity and even creativity in almost any field imaginable.

For me, the iPhone and its intriguing apps have been incredible resources for journalism, especially reporting in the field.

It’s also no secret that journalists should be savvy with the various mobile apps as a way to boost their outlet’s popularity and draw attention to important stories.

There are now more than 600 million users are Facebook and the numbers for other social networks such as Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr and Instagram are only growing as well.

This can be easily defined as an untapped audience just waiting to be consumers of today’s news both local and national.

For the past few months, I’ve been using Instagram as a way to reach out to followers and interested persons in my coverage network. I’ve also linked my Instagram photos to a Tumblr feed that I’ve set up to reflect my reporting experiences in the field and on assignments.

Council members take their seats at a Mount Rainier City Council work session. (Taken with Instagram)

I’ve found this is a great way to not only keep a running log of the exciting and sometimes unique experiences I encounter as a reporter, but also to reach out to others and connect people to the story.

Through this practice, and obviously the use of  Twitter, I’ve noticed a stronger following and increased viewership to my stories. When I’m not posting links, I’m posting content to these networks as a way to “tease” a story or provide some “b-roll”context that relates to a story.

From a news consumer perspective, I’ve found a strong attraction to stories when I read a tease or promotional tweet or blog post from the actual reporter because they are providing a personal insight into their work.

Here’s a blog post I stumbled upon from WUSA 9 reporter Lindsey Mastis, who explains the benefits of using Instagram on assignments: How I used Instagram while reporting on garage fires

Burning through this notepad as the North Brentwood Town Council discusses the possibility of losing its charter. (Taken with Instagram)

If you’re not already using mobile apps and social networks to promote your work and bridge a connection to your stories and the consumer, give it a shot. You won’t regret it.

Follow me on Twitter @danieljgross or check out my work with The Gazette.

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