FAKING IT: taking risks with new social media

In my last post, I was getting to grips with putting silly bunny ears on my bonce…. or something. Quite frankly, I still don’t totally get Snapchat. I’m 31. I’m past it.

ANYWAY, today was our ‘newsroom day’ on my CIRCOM training course. Something like this is a good way to try out new techniques without having your esteemed colleagues snigger at your efforts.

Image for post
Image for post
‘It’s not stupid, it’s just new, ok?!’

THE STORY: Budapest Police hold press confernece in cemetery. Offer advice on problems of pickpockets and theft. It’s because Hungarian families all head to the graves of their loved ones to lay flowers.

THE AUDIENCE: Young. Like… 16–25. It’s hard, because tending graves is much more likely to be done by the older members of the family.

THE PLATFORM: Use a variety of new techniques; instastories, snapchat, content tailored specifically for Facebook and explanatory videos.


STEP 1: Flip chart. Please someone use a flipchart. OMG someone write something. This was horrible. While it was clear we had some good ideas, we were going round in circles. So I wrote a list.

Image for post
Image for post

STEP 2: Don’t be like apprentice contenstents. When you’re used to how people in your newsroom work, with their skills and quirks, it’s weird to be thrown into a new group of people who’ve never worked together. I think some misunderstadings were inevitable, but we eventually narrowed down our long list into a set of acheivable and interesting ideas. We avoided the press conference totally, excpet for using it for information and a peg.

Image for post
Image for post
Your team name is… what?!

STEP3: Choose your platform. We filmed stuff about the many international traditions for All Saints’ Day as an Instastory. (using flag emojis) We used snapchat to promote our website, our facebook with travel info on etc. (with car emojis) We also used instagram for short videos and images from the cemetary.

One thing that took up most of my time, was an explanatory video about the Hungarian tradition on Facebook. It was a bit quirkier and had more of my personality in than a piece I’d usually do for TV… but I guess that’s the point.

STEP 4: Use your group’s skills. One of us was really good at running a website, some were better at researching details, others were better at making fun upbeat videos with no reporters on, some were faster editors. This’ll be true in any newsroom though- do you have someone who runs their own vlog anyway? Is someone at work addicted to Instagram? Or obsessed with memes? They’re the kind of people whose skills you should be using to make your Instagram stories and Facebook, and to tell you how the ‘young people talk’ on these platforms.

Image for post
Image for post
Know who this guy is?


It’s true that people who work in newrooms aren’t 16 year old girls using Snapchat. (Seriously, I still haven’t figured it out) And no, we’re not necessarily going to be able to compete with Ladbible or the celebrities they follow. But we should at least offer some news on these platforms. Because even if they choose to skip past it, that’s the YOUTH equivilant of changing TV channel. So we need to be ‘broadcasting’ on that channel.

You never know when they might start finding one of our social media ‘channels’ interesting.

Image for post
Image for post

P.S. The rest of our efforts are here. Some of these were published as instastories…

Written by

Video Journalist & presenter in East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire for BBC Look North. Also a cyclist, skier, country pub enthusiast & cake baker. My views, etc.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store