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Gina Miller's Articles

10 Tools Every Journalist Needs in 2017

here's no question we're asking reporters, photographers, anchors and producers to do more during the news gathering process. We're also asking them to connect with viewers more frequently on social and digital media. If they don't streamline the process or take advantage of tools that can make these tasks more manageable, the additional work can be overwhelming. It doesn't have to be.

Here is a list of tools and apps for your team to make not just mobile storytelling easier, but also their entire workflow more efficient.

Adobe Spark – this free tool helps you create graphics, web stories and animated videos quickly. The app also offers story templates to make this process quicker.

Awesome Voice Recorder – this app has multiple uses. It allows you to record interview audio on your smartphone, which is helpful for logging interviews. It also allows you to record voiceover audio. If you need to send something back to the station, this produces broadcast-quality audio.

10 Quick-Turn Story Ideas For November

All of a sudden it's November. With the holidays approaching and a Presidential election, it's helpful to have some quick-turn stories to help you power through this month and beyond.

Voter Selfies - is it illegal in your state to take a selfie in the voting booth? Did you know that in Texas you can't even take a photo within 100 feet of a polling station? Let your viewers know what they can and cannot do on Election Day.

Election Stress - from your friends posting their political opinions on Facebook to watching the debates, is 'election stress' really a thing? Apparently so.

How To Teach Students About The Election - whether its teaching students about fact-checking or understanding the importance of a healthy debate, the election offers a historic opportunity to teach students about the U.S. electoral process.

Holiday Airport Safety - with holiday travel season right around the corner, just how safe is your airport?

How to Use Instagram to Promote Your Station and Engage Viewers

While the weather is cooling down for most parts of the country, Instagram continues to be a hot topic in newsrooms from coast to coast. Instagram isn't all about #BRUNCH! photos. The popular social media network is an incredibly valuable revenue driver to, among others, the fashion, online publishing and sports industries. So how we can best leverage it in local news?

RELATED: What Twitter's Recent Changes Mean For You

The Power of Instagram

Instagram’s user base has doubled in size over the past two years with more than 500 million monthly active users; 300 million of them are active on a daily basis. Instagram is popular with women, yet its male user growth is slightly outpacing female users. 

Instagram’s users enjoy more substantial engagement. Roughly 2.2 percent of Instagram users engage with a brand. That sounds low but considers this: on Facebook engagement with brands is .2 percent. On Twitter, it’s less than .1 percent, according to Forrester.

As it relates to local news, Share Rocket has found that Instagram has eclipsed Twitter in terms of engagement and trails only Facebook.

Covering Hurricane Matthew

With Hurricane Matthew approaching, let's look at how stations are covering the storm both on-air and online. Remember this is an opportunity to connect with your viewers on every platform. Compelling graphics with detailed information are not only highly shareable but also informative. 

Change your social media headers as well as your website banner with on-brand messaging that reflects the severity of the weather situation. Have your meteorologists do the same. 

Facebook Live broadcasts can provide detailed information and engagement if your viewers are without power and can't watch your broadcast product. If your meteorologists can't answer all the questions during a live broadcast, have him or her answer them in the comments section once the broadcast has concluded.  

Story Ideas For Sweeps

With November approaching, here are 10 story ideas you can produce in your market that also offer outstanding opportunities to engage your viewers on social media.

________ While Black - this is an opportunity to examine race relations in your market. Driving While Black would be a great TSR for stations. What does it look like in your market? Are there statistics you can gather that make it more of an investigative story than just a reaction piece? You could also do companion stories like Shopping While Black, etc. These stories are highly sharable.

Affordable Home Security Solutions - think it has to cost a fortune to protect your home? Think again. Learn about some affordable home security solutions.

Bounce House Hell - there are a number of fall festivals popping up that feature bounce houses. Just how safe are these?

Closing the Government Pay Gap - learn how one town narrowed the gap. How does your local government stack up?

What Twitter's Recent Changes Mean For You

While Facebook is the LeBron James of social media, Twitter is doing its best Dirk impression and doing all it can to stay competitive and relevant.

Twitter dominates during games and events. It’s a gamechanger on gameday and a great way for all your station’s talent to engage followers on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during football season…and beyond. ShareRocket’s Chris Kraft confirmed what I suspected “Twitter is still the king for ‘live tweeting’ and live updates during a game”.

Twitter announced these changes in May but they recently went live to reduce the 140-character limit in certain scenarios. From Twitter’s blog:

  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
  • Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!

How We Covered Severe Weather On Social Media

We need to be active and aggressive on-air and online during severe weather situations. The key is providing compelling, informative content that serves our viewers, fans and followers. Find out how incorporating video, strong images with clear messaging helps us achieve that.

From Hurricane Hermine to the flooding in Baton Rouge, severe weather has dominated the headlines the last few weeks. We know that the majority of U.S. adults get their news on social media. Let's examine how local stations across the country took advantage of this to inform and engage viewers in the digital space during our recent severe weather situations.

Digital Coverage Strategies For Football Season

With football season here, it's time for your sports department to consider how it's providing coverage not just during sportscasts but also on digital and social media.

Consider this: Twitter will stream Thursday night NFL games on Periscope. Snapchat signed a content deal to show highlights from the Rio Olympics. Twitter will stream a weekly NBA pre-game show and another secondary show.

Sports fans expect content on social media. Your sports department is in an outstanding position to be a leader in your market to leverage content that provides unique insight, exclusive coverage, engaging pre-game, in-game and post-game experiences on both digital and social media.

What Facebook's Latest Algorithm Change Means For Your Station

Facebook has done it again. They're changing their algorithm, again, to prioritize user content over Publisher content. Meaning, users could see more selfies, cute baby pics and brunch photos versus news headlines in their feeds.  Facebook said the change is based on feedback from users and its community with the goal of ensuring users don't "miss stories from their friends".  Plainly put: Facebook's success is built on keeping viewers engaged on its site.  It doesn't want to become MySpace.  Facebook wants to keep its users on the platform and keep them happy at the same time.

As it relates to your Page there are some important considerations.  Facebook’s values state “friends and family come first".  After that, Facebook research has shown that News feeds should “inform and entertain”.  Facebook says that its users "value stories they consider informative" and that "people enjoy their feeds as a source of entertainment".  This can, obviously mean different things to different users.  For some, entertaining and informative content could mean a video featuring a recipe created by a celebrity chef.  For others, it's local news, weather reports or sports discussions.  Facebook admits this could affect reach and referral traffic, something stations rely on to drive users back to their websites and recruit viewers to the broadcast products. 

Orlando Mass Shooting Social Media Image Gallery

The images we are seeing have helped tell this story, inform viewers and make a compelling statement. Please refer to this page for an updated gallery of images and social media posts.

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