Creating an Instagram, Facebook, or other social media page for your journalism program can have innumerable benefits. From boosting enrollment, creating modern learning experiences, and reaching new audiences, maintaining a presence on social media is a great tool for high school journalism. There are so many ways to create a system that will work for your program. Many journalism teachers decide to appoint one or two students to be social media editors, or you — the adviser — could take a more hands-on approach to assign and approve posts. Regardless, you will find resources and answers to your questions below, ranging from social media lesson plans to a how-to create an Instagram account.
A: Social media provides a fantastic opportunity for high school journalism programs to gain exposure, attract new students, drive readers to their website, increase readership, and foster more engagement with their audience.
You can read more about the benefits of using social media and why we think it is crucial for high school journalism programs here.
A: To create a system that works for your program, you should consider how social media could best improve your newspaper and your student reporters' experience.
Your answers to the questions above should give you an idea of what to focus on when designing your paper's social media presence. Your measures of success will depend on your program's goals for the account.
A: That will depend on what kind of social media you are using.
For some social media, you will need to download an app and make an account if you want to closely monitor activity. For other social media accounts, you can view all of your newspaper account's posts without signing in. Click this link to see what you'll need to do for different social media sites.
A: The extent to which you monitor the activity of the social media account for your newspaper is going to depend on several factors, and ultimately it will be up to you to decide what is best for your program.
Some schools appoint a student to be "Social Media Editor" — whether it be a standalone position or part of being an editor — and generally trust that student to be responsible for posts and interactions on the social media account. This is a great opportunity for the student or students to gain social media experience and learn valuable skills.
Lay out some general guidelines and ground rules. The amount of freedom you give your social media editor is up to you — if you want, you can give them a required amount of posts per week and determine how many social media posts can fall under which section. Or, you can let the student or students decide what works for them. It might be helpful to provide this social media guide as a resource for your social media editor, and even familiarize yourself with some of the basic tenets of an effective social media account. Regardless, make sure that your social media editor is professional, responsible, and has an eye for design. This will likely be a learning opportunity for them and for you, so be flexible with your requirements and expectations.
Or, you could be the only person with access to the account passwords, and you could post material that your students send to you. To do this, you could incorporate social media into your curriculum to teach your students how to create social media posts (check out the question "How do I incorporate social media into my curriculum?" below), and update the social media account yourself as students turn in the material. Or, you could more selectively decide which stories warrant posts. You could choose one story per section, task editors with curating posts for their sections, or hand-pick stories yourself based on what content is most suitable for social media.
This system requires the most time commitment from you, but it can be doable depending on the size of your paper, how often you post, and how stories are chosen.