Jane McDonald is a broadcast journalist and a reporter at the Montana Television Network, which is a network of CBS affiliates with local stations in just about every major city in Montana. McDonald graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Journalism and Media Production from the Murrow College of Communication. She was involved with multiple multi-media productions and the Murrow News 8 team before joining MTN news in June 2021.

UM Journalism student Meghan Fatouros interviewed McDonald about her ideas on best practices on social media. What follows in a transcript of their conversation, edited slightly for clarity and brevity.

Q: How do you decide what is beneficial to post and what is not?

A: Digital elements of storytelling have really become a focus for broadcasters. When I’m back at my desk, thinking what would be a good piece for our social media, I try to find something that elevates the story: whether that be background/facts and figures, or an extended interview with a person I talked with.

Q: Has there ever been a moment you chose to delete something or backtrack?

A: There have been several times where I head back to my team and ask for their advice, for instance, the title of an article. I always try to think of journalism from all angles—and if a new angle hits me later on in the day, I reach out to my coworkers and see what they think.

Q: What is the best way to “sell” yourself over social media to give your audience a good understanding of your authentic and professional self?

A: To me the answer is in the question. Being authentic, in my opinion, is the best way to present yourself …from the articles you write, to the stories you broadcast, to the social media posts…leading with authenticity is the way to go.

Q: Who inspires you on social media?

A: It may seem trivial, but my coworkers really inspire me. As someone who is still learning how to navigate social media, I don’t have to look far to see how other journalists share their stories with the community.

Meghan Fatouros is a student in the UM School of Journalism’s Social Media and Engagement class, which conducted Q&As this semester with journalists as part of a research project on best practices for journalists on social media. See more of the Q&As here.

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