Five years ago, the job didn’t exist at most local TV stations. Today, it’s one of the key positions at a TV station. Social media, especially Facebook, has become a fundamental platform for stations. It has allowed viewers to participate in the electronic news gathering process. It provides a real-time connection to viewers, giving them […]
Social media, especially Facebook, has become a fundamental platform for stations.
It has allowed viewers to participate in the electronic news gathering process. It provides a real-time connection to viewers, giving them a voice in how their news is covered.
And, it has removed the curtain that existed between the anchors, reporters, producers, even the photographers, in the newsroom and the viewers, between the editorial process and the finished product.
Who are these people who handle the daily postings on social media?
What are their backgrounds? How is their success measured?
Brandon Launerts is WSVN’s social media producer and has been with the station for about a year a half, having come over from another station in the market.
“When I took on the job, my biggest issue was to grow and make a presence in the market on social media. Within a year, we doubled our followers on Facebook and Twitter.”
Launerts said newsroom experience is key to being a broadcast social media producer.
“I started off as a news editor cutting video,” said Launerts.
“I used to write stories for the newscast. So having my feet wet helped me learn how the newsroom works. You can’t just hire someone straight out of college to become a social media producer if they don’t have any experience in a working newsroom.”
At WSVN, social media is handled by the digital department from the station’s web team, writers that control WSVN’s social media. And breaking news is the station’s main priority on Facebook.
“In the event of breaking news, you try to get the video out right away,” said Launerts. “So whenever we have breaking news, I try to be one of the first, making sure it’s accurate and confirmed, but I’m trying to be one of the first to get information out and put it out on social media.”
Launerts said that although WSVN is often leading the market on Facebook, recent changes at Facebook have affected the station’s reach.
“Which makes the job a little bit harder because now you have to really pick what you want to post because you want what does well.”
If a news post doesn’t generate enough engagement, then Facebook doesn’t share it with as many people. So engagement becomes really important for growth.
“Engagement is one of my big things,” said Launerts.
“You need to be engaging in order to grow. If you’re growing and people are engaging, then you’re driving traffic to your website.”
Launerts said vigilance is key to being successful on Facebook.
“We are constantly checking our analytics because every week is different. It’s just constantly being aware of what’s trending and what’s going on in our neighborhoods.”
NOTE: Brandon Launerts has left WSVN for a position with CBS News in New York.