When I left the Austin American-Statesman for the University of Texas, I wanted to teach a social media class in a way that would produce highly engaged journalists who had fun with social media.
Three semesters in, there’s no doubt the students enjoy it, and they are learning to use these platforms as two-way communication channels, something that professional journalists often miss.
The students are working on a news network I created that allows them to work as real social media editors - the Social News Network. Although I created the network, it is all theirs. Working in shifts, they choose all stories and write all the tweets, Facebook and Tumblr posts and Pinterest pins. They are given guidance and coaching from me but they are otherwise independent in this online-taught class. They use a back-channel Facebook group to share challenges, answer each other’s questions and celebrate successes. It’s a lively class, proving that online classes do not have to be dry.
I had so much fun interacting with the Austin community when I was social media editor at the Statesman. I hope these students carry some of the lessons I learned and all of that fun I had into tomorrow’s newsrooms.
Please follow their work and interact with them:
News: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr
Sports: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr
Entertainment: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr