Today’s member of the media has a whole different set of priorities and duties. And keeping score is a lot more complicated.
Remember the days when all print reporters had to do was knock out a few stories and walk away? When TV teams (reporter and camera person) had all day to go out and find a story, bring it back to the studio and edit it for the evening newscast?
That was before social media became the measuring stick of effectiveness. And I imagine there are already job interviews taking place in which the number of Twitter followers a person has is a factor in hiring.
We’ve heard about embarrassing Facebook posts keeping employers from making hires, but what about the other side – how a reporter could bring a built-in audience of social media followers in to boost an outlet’s reach?
Don’t you think a fresh-faced reporter with social media cred — let’s say, 10,000 Twitter followers, might get the nod in a local reporter hire?
This week I talked with Eric Crawford, the WDRB-TV sports reporter, who introduced me to KLOUT scores. Put simply, KLOUT scores measure influence in social media using what I presume is a formula more complicated than the one baseball uses for OPS (on-base plus slugging).
KLOUT measures a person’s social media influence (defined, roughly, by the amount of posts and interaction one has on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others) on a scale of 1-100.
Crawford was telling me that during the University of Louisville’s basketball season last year, he was paying attention to it and trying to boost his number above 70. He says he spends less time on it now. For some media types, it’s become a measuring stick — and could become more than that.
Gabriel Duverge is a recent U of L journalism graduate who has written sports for my site, LouisvilleKY.com. Duverge recently was hired for an internship with ProMoter Marketing Communications, and writes about U of L sports for The Cardinal Connect website.
He’s the envy of his peers with a 59 KLOUT score, better than a lot of full-time media types in town, including me.
“When I was applying for internships it was on my resume, and it was brought up in interviews,” he said. “Companies keep social media savvy in mind. Companies who care about it know what it is, and if they realize I know what it is and understand it, it’s an advantage.”
He says that he gets a lot of comments on his Facebook and Twitter posts, primarily about U of L sports. Plus, he said the score can reflect how influential the people are who follow you. He says a lot of local media types follow him.
When you’re in the media, drawing the line between work and personal life can be complicated.
WFPL reporter Phillip M. Bailey has tweeted more than anyone I know, providing his thoughts on everything from “Breaking Bad” to U of L sports, along with prolific coverage of politics. He’s done more than 44,000 Tweets, and was among the first to embrace Facebook.
“It’s what you make of it, a reflection of yourself,” Bailey said. “Twitter is really like micro-blogging, notebook-dumping things that don’t fit in a story.”
He thinks it’s important to cultivate followers and interact online, and will become a more important factor in hiring.
“The person is hiring you based on your knowledge but also the people who trust you. You’re buying audience. But there’s the constant question of where does the news outlet end and yours begins.”
Many TV stations, Bailey said, attach call letters to reporters’ Twitter accounts, and I know of at least one that initiated competitions among staffers to get more followers in social media. But those types of accounts simply promote a person’s work for a station.
Recently, the new editor-in-chief at the Courier-Journal, Neil Budde, talked to an Insider Louisville audience about that type of posting.
“That’s not really participating in social media,” said Budde. “If you’re only broadcasting your own stuff you’re not positioning yourself as expert in anything.”
Bailey positions himself as an opinion-shaper on multiple topics, including those outside his beat at WFPL, and engages in occasional Twitter wars.
“If you follow me, you get me,” he says.
For Crawford, working in sports, Twitter is a big part of his experience. “With Twitter, you can establish yourself as an authority. It’s become really big during games and events. Twitter is where you make your name.”
I compiled a random list of local media stars and local outlets, based on KLOUT scores:
(Reporter’s note: Klout scores change constantly, so this is simply a compilation of a moment in time.)
John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach — 88
Pat Forde, Yahoo! Sports National Writer based here – 80
Matt Jones, Kentucky Sports Radio host — 78
Greg Fischer, Louisville Mayor – 69
Eric Crawford, WDRB Sports – 67
Rick Bozich WDRB Sports -67
Steve Beshear, Governor of Kentucky – 66
Adam Lefkoe WHAS-TV Sports— 65
Terry Meiners, WHAS Radio DJ – 60
Gabriel Duverge, U of L Graduate, freelance writer – 59
Lachlan McLean, WHAS Radio Sporrts – 59
Ben Pine, WHAS-TV Weather – 59
Rick Redding, Insider Louisville/Rusty Satellite Show – 57
Gabe Bullard, WFPL News Editor — 55
Phillip Bailey, WFPL Reporter — 53
Angie Fenton, Freelance Media Reporter — 52
Mark Coomes, Insider Louisville sports — 50
John David Dyche, WDRB Editorial — 43
Local Media Outlets
Insider Louisville 61
WFPL News 61
Business First 60
WHAS11 News 58
WDRB News 55
LEO Weekly 55