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NAIT Nugget Editor-In-Chief Amy St. Amand on social media in journalism

By Harold Abuan on November 2, 2023

Younger or newer journalists are often taught how to use social media for journalism. Amy St. Amand, the Editor-In-Chief at the NAIT Nugget, spoke about what social media is like from the eyes of a journalist.

How do you use social media personally?

I use social media like a lot of people do: to connect with friends, look at memes, stay up to date with what’s happening in the world.

How does the Nugget use it?

At the moment, we primarily use Tik-Tok and X because we are blocked on Meta platforms. There [are] a few different ways we use it to promote the Nugget: promoting when we have new issues out, promoting the fact that we exist and that we need writers and that we pay people to write. We also use it to share information. We share new articles that have been written, issues that might be important for students to know or perks that they have – just as any other news platform does. It’s kind of two-fold in marketing ourselves but also just as a way to share news with people who want to find it.

Were there any differences between how you thought you’d use social media for journalism versus how you did use it?

I think everything has been pretty much what we expected. I think that this semester we have learned about what ways are more effective to use it and how in-person communication is often more genuine and has more follow-through but I don’t think there’s anything. I always expected that the internet is somewhat anonymous and because it’s so fast-moving, people don’t always follow up, but we’ve seen kind of a difference when we’re doing in-person booths, that when people say they’re interested, most times we hear back from them whereas the on the internet, maybe we don’t. I wouldn’t say there’s much difference.

What about information gathering? Do you ever just reach out to them on social media and just talk through there instead of getting in-person interviews?

We have done it when there’s no other option. I think it’s like a starting point, right? You can see a post on Reddit and see what people are talking about, but the good journalism will go and talk to those people in person. I think that it’s good as a starting point to see what people are talking about and what the group thinks – the public thought.

Do you think social media use for journalism is a luxury or a necessity in this day and age?

I think it’s a necessity. I think that the way our society works right now – these are the platforms that the majority of people use to connect with others and to find out information. We’ve seen a huge impact in not having Instagram or Facebook. Those were our platforms that people connected with us on the most and we’ve kinda struggled a little bit this semester to connect with students. I would like for them to not be a necessity. It’s not super fun when someone else has power over you connecting with your audience. I think unfortunately just with the way that our society has shaped out and the patterns people have developed about the way they consume media and the way they get information, it’s definitely a necessity right now.

Do you think social media changed how viewers retain information compared to TV?

If you look at things like Yegwave or Daily Hive who are not posting the most reputable news maybe, or not sharing their sources – a lot of people are just believing that. If you look at the shooting that happened at West Edmonton Mall, there was flurries of misinformation being shared on some less reputable news sites where people weren’t doing their due diligence to check that out. I think social media in general has also kind of shortened people’s attention spans. You have to think a lot more about how you can get the information across in an exciting way that reflects that shortened attention span right? At the Nugget when we’re making videos – when we’re making news recaps and stuff, we think a lot about – okay, so what’s the hook? Or what’s the first two seconds gonna look like to draw people in? How do we keep people engaged with this information?

So you mentioned that you had to compensate for people’s shorter attention spans. Is there any chance that there are stories you don’t post on social media because of that?

I think that there are [stories] that just are not right for a social media platform, right? If it requires a lot of context or if it requires a lot of sharing of sources, it can be a really difficult thing to put on social media because you either know that nobody’s going to watch it, or if there’s too many words or too many links or whatever, the algorithms are just going to suppress it. There are certainly stories that are not being shared on social media just because of the nature of them, which is really sad because I find at the Nugget, a lot of our more complex and longer stories are some of our better stories and it’s sad that they’re maybe not getting as much attention or not getting the same type of audience now that we don’t have Instagram or Facebook.

Amy St. Amand says any student can become a writer for the NAIT Nugget. Writers there also get paid for their stories.



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