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How Pro’s are Doin’ it…Social Media Style

In class Monday night we had the opportunity to hear how Brad Belote, Director of Digital Content, and Lauren Matter, News Anchor for KSPR, use social media to keep viewers coming back for more.

One of the first things out of Brad Belote’s mouth was “stay in the feed.”  That phrase would have put a perplexed look on most faces a couple of years ago, but today we all know “the feed” he was referring to.  We read RSS feeds, Facebook feeds and Twitter feeds daily.  So, it didn’t surprise me when it was the first thing Brad mentioned in his efforts to keep KY3 Inc. social media savvy.

One thing I found very interesting was how, although Brad is the one in charge of all things social media, but he isn’t the only one keeping the news feeds running.  Knowing that anchors from both KY3 and KSPR are posting status updates while on the air and tweeting breaking news from the field is a great tool to keep viewers coming back for more.

The audience is engaged in the news; they feel like they are completely up-to-date.  Viewers don’t have to wait for the 5 or 10 o’clock news to find out what happened during the workday.  They can follow “the feed” throughout the day and get a glimpse of what is happening.  This intrigues them just enough to bring them back to the traditional news in the evening.

Beyond just posting breaking news topics and behind the scenes thoughts, some KY3 Inc. talent are branching out and seeking viewers in a unique manner.  Ethan Forhetz, a KY3 anchor, has created quite a following on Facebook.  Devoted fans check-in each day for his Great Debate, now this isn’t a debate on politics or environmental issues.  Ethan poses tricky questions like:  baked potatoes or French fries, Mary-Ann or Ginger, Daffy Duck or Donald Duck.  This lighthearted interaction lets viewers see the human and personal side of Ethan.  

It’s not just a give, give, give relationship for KY3 Inc. when it comes to social networking.  KSPR news anchor, Lauren Matter, expressed how she has received story ideas from fans on Facebook.  I know the public has always had the opportunity to share news ideas, but I for one would have had no clue how to go about doing it.  E-mail has made it easier, but now viewers can log into Facebook and write to Lauren or other news reporters and share what they see going on in the community. 

Both speakers also expressed how these social networking sites are an added source when it comes to putting a story idea together.  Lauren spoke on how she will search for a contact’s name to see if they would like to be interviewed for a story or to find out more about them.  This is not limited to just people.  The use of social networking sites is increasing for businesses because they are free and easy to use.  At the drop of a hat news reporters like Lauren can view a business profile for contact and other information.

One idea KY3 Inc. is experimenting with is Watch KY3 Live.  This link shows up on the left hand side of their Facebook profile and allows viewers to see what’s going on live in the newsroom.  They have opened their lives to share with viewers how they research story leads and give a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes.

Whether it is “staying in the feed,” gathering story ideas and collecting detailed information or opening up the news room to live streaming, KY3 Inc. seems to be staying on the cutting edge of the new technology social media keeps spitting out at us.  I know I “liked” their page and began following them on Twitter as soon as I got out of class.