By Cathleen Doisher
Tessa Nadeau is a reporter for the ABC Fox Montana news. She started working right out of college when she graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in broadcast journalism. She says social media has always played an important role in her work.
She recently answered questions from UM student Cathleen Doisher over email about how she uses social media in her work. Below is a transcript of their conversation, edited lightly for length and clarity.
Q: Do you often use social media to display your work as a journalist? What platform is your favorite to use?
A: Yes, I often use social media for work. Knowing how to utilize social media as a journalist is really important, especially when trying to reach the younger generation. It’s a great tool to use when trying to get information out to people quickly and right when the news is taking place. My favorite platform to use is Instagram. I like being able to take a quick picture or shoot a video of whatever is taking place and update my followers that way.
Q: How are you able to put your personal beliefs to the side, while writing and broadcasting your stories and interviews?
A: This is a really good question! Having your own personal beliefs is important. However, as a journalist, they cannot interfere with your work. Right now, we are living in a very politically-divisive time and people want to know what ‘side’ you’re on. I often get asked what my personal opinion is when I’m on the job and I’ve come up with a simple response: When I’m working, I don’t take sides. That doesn’t mean I don’t have one. I definitely do. But being fair, accurate and honest is more important than my beliefs.
Q: How do you handle hate on social media while posting your work or even in the journalism industry, how do you keep the negative away?
A: It depends what the negative comments are about. If it’s about something being inaccurate that’s in a story I did, it’s important to correct that right away and apologize. But as a journalist, you have to have really thick skin! If people are saying negative things about me personally, I just ignore the comments or laugh about them!
Q: How often do you post on social media? What social sites do you use more for work and more for personal use?
A: I try to post on social media every day. The more consistent I am, the more engagements I tend to get. I use Facebook and Instagram about the same amount for personal and professional use. But I mainly use Twitter for work.
Q: How does your day to day go by?
A: It depends on the day, but usually the order of how I do things is the same. I typically start my day by gaining a better understanding of what my story is going to be about and write up the questions I’m going to ask my interviewee (I usually set up interviews the night before, if I can.) Then, I go out and do interviews, shoot b-roll and film teases and headlines. Once I’m done with that, I head back to the station to write my scripts and then edit my video together. Around 4 p.m., I go to where I’m going live, and then go live for our 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. shows. I finish my day by writing up a web article!
Q: Have you ever made a mistake while broadcasting? How did you deal with that mess up?
A: Yes, of course I have! When I first started working as a reporter, I would get very upset if I messed up. But now I don’t because I remind myself that I’m human. I don’t ignore the mistake. Instead, I think about how I can do better next time and what I can change.
Q: When posting on social media are you ever worried about posting a story. If so, why?
A: Not really because I only post things that I’ve already researched so it’s easy just to post it on social media as well. I only get nervous taking videos of myself talking about the story because it can be hard to put yourself out there!
Q: What are your thoughts on how social media has taken over the news industry?
A: Social media has changed the way people consume news in a lot of ways. First, people are more inclined to read something that’s shorter. So, you have to learn how to get your story out in a precise way without changing the story into something it isn’t. Also, people have so many choices on what they read or look at on social media, so you have to tell your story in a way that will engage readers (but that doesn’t mean clickbait!).
Cathleen Doisher is a student in the UM School of Journalism’s Social Media and Engagement class, which conducted Q&As this semester with more than 20 journalists as part of a research project on best practices for journalists on social media.