Journalists on Social Media: Q&A with Tasha Cain-Gray, KXLY 4 News in Spokane

By Charles B. Wendt

Tasha Cain-Gray is the digital content producer for KXLY 4 News in Spokane, Washington. She has worked for WSTP news in Tampa Bay as their Brightside digital content producer working the morning shifts from 3 a.m, to noon. UM student Charles B. Wendt recently spoke with Cain-Gray on the best practices for social media and how journalists should handle today’s technological age. Below is a transcript of their conversation, edited slightly for clarity.

Tasha Cain-Gray. Courtesy photo.


Q: What is your favorite platform to post stories to and how do you cater your content to different platforms?

A: My favorite platform to post stories to is Instagram. YouTube is a close second though. What I like about these platforms is the ability to curate your content a little better. With Facebook and Twitter, you get the newsfeed. Yay, I guess. But with Instagram and YouTube, you have the ability to get more creative. On IG you can use the “swipe up” (now link) feature in the stories. You can use a combination of photos and videos to market your hard work. Plus, I like to think of IG as a story “art gallery” where I’m the curator. Then with YouTube, I like how sharable it is. You can embed related videos into other stories and post the links to other social media platforms.

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Journalists on Social Media: Q&A With Student and Montana Kaimin Multimedia Editor Antonio Ibarra

By Ridley Hudson

Antonio Ibarra. Photo by Kathleen Shannon.

Antonio Ibarra is the Multimedia Editor for the Montana Kaimin at the University of Montana. Last summer, he interned with the Missoulian and has been studying photojournalism since he was 19. UM student Ridley Hudson, who works with Ibarra at the Kaimin as a photographer, recently interviewed Ibarra about his experience with social media as a photojournalist and how he maintains engagement with his work while keeping a journalistic tone. Below is a transcript of their discussion.

Q: What voice/tone do you aim to have as a photojournalist with a social media presence?

A: I try to cover moments in their raw format and in the most fair way possible. I try to incorporate emotion, diversity and inclusion in most of my coverage as events unfold. Due to the heavy social media presence that we’re currently in, I strive to include  accurate and verifiable information about the context of the event whenever I write my captions.

Q: When you notice a mistake, what’s the best way to correct it, in your opinion?

A: I do my best to fact check the information before adding it to the post. After fact-checking, I make an update to the post and make a note on the side stating the fact.

Q: What strategies do you follow to build your social media presence in the journalism atmosphere on social media?

A: I follow other photojournalists around the state and the U.S. and interact with them online by sharing their work. Whenever you share someone’s work, it encourages them to also do the same for you, so your work gets more eyes on it.  I also try to incorporate more hashtags in the comments so the post can reach a larger audience. In the caption I also tag the official accounts of institutions and organizations that I’m referencing. This prompts them to actually see the post and encourages them to share it with their followers.

Q: How do you keep a neutral journalistic tone on social media?

A: I simply just state the facts and write in a journalistic voice without accusing or causing harm to anybody. I try to stay away from comments that are inflammatory or controversial, but if someone is spreading false information, I do my best to confront that by providing accurate information.

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Journalists on Social Media: Q&A with The Athletic’s Ric Sanchez

Sanchez on Twitter.

By Haileigh Bayee

Ric Sanchez has been specializing in social media since pretty much right after he graduated from the UM School of Journalism in 2015, first at the Washington Post and now at the Athletic, a national publication focused on sports news. Sanchez’s work includes curating content from what the Athletic has published and packaging it for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Current University of Montana journalism student, Haileigh Bayee, interviewed Sanchez recently about best social media practices. Below is the transcription of the interview, edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: What’s your favorite platform and how do you cater your content to that platform?

A: Twitter. Honestly, a lot of people use it, so I am always second screening on Twitter during a game. I’m looking at live reactions from creditors that I follow. Honestly, it’s the easiest and quickest way to get information out there. For the most part, it’s helpful as far as being able to publish news quickly.

Q: How do you ensure your posts stay professional yet inviting?

A: We had a lot of success being a little sillier on Twitter. You see that Washington Post avatar and you’re probably expecting something a little more serious. So voice with something lighter, as long as what you’re publishing is still accurate. You obviously don’t want to get carried away and post something that’s untrue but as long as you know you’re not like reaching, you’re not trying too hard, you can have funny reactions.

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