Try This at Home

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers useful insights and ideas you can try yourself.

Google knows what you did last summer: How to use the My Activity page to make it forget

For journalists, the amount of information that Google holds about you presents a risk to your sources, according to Paul Bradshaw. Searches for people, images and video, books and reports that you’ve read, visits to particular locations can all identify individuals. If you’re promising whistleblowers protection, you can delete this information.

Seven ways media can attract a more diverse workforce

Saturday at the Public Radio News Directors Inc. conference in St. Louis, Andrew Ramsammy, director of content projects and initiatives at Public Radio International, said, “Clearly the issue of diversity is no longer an inside thing. As we’ve seen, the public has keenly become aware about diversity, both inside and outside of media. And they […]

Four tips for journalists to master Snapchat stories

Snapchat is no longer just a private messaging tool for kids. News organizations like The Hill and The Washington Post are using Snapchat stories to cover political rallies; others like theSkimm and CBS News are giving behind-the-scenes looks at their operations; and Mic and The Verge are using it to distribute original stories created just […]

A simple Facebook bot is easy to make, but what makes up a useful Facebook bot?

Since Facebook opened up Messenger to bots two months ago, publishers have learned that it’s not hard to make a basic Facebook bot. But making a good, useful Facebook bot requires a bit more work, Lucia Moses writes. Moses talks to four publishers with Facebook Messenger bots about what they’ve learned and what’s worked for […]

Lessons from BuzzFeed’s Tumblr success: Don’t think of Tumblr as a singular community

“Tumblr can be a very difficult brand to crack,” BuzzFeed’s Tumblr editor Cates Holderness says. “It seems like a very insular community. But personally, it’s my favorite platform. We talk about Tumblr as one community, but it’s really made up of hundreds of thousands of small communities. It provides access to a lot of underrepresented […]

What you can learn from BuzzFeed’s public records strategy: Let lawyers play ‘bad cop’ and understand agencies’ motivations

BuzzFeed is trying to improve the public records process by creating a “FOIA-friendly newsroom”: In the last year, it’s been able to obtain 71,000 pages of documents and five databases from 62 agencies in 22 states through FOIA requests. Kelly Hinchcliffe explains what other journalists can learn from BuzzFeed’s strategy: BuzzFeed files three to five […]

How to use Twitter to measure success on Snapchat

As publishers are trying to figure out the best way to measure how successful their Snapchat photos and videos are, MTV is using Twitter to gauge success on Snapchat. While Snapchat users can see some basic metrics, such as the number of views and the number of screenshots, MTV is using Twitter to measure how […]

Ideas from The Guardian’s comments hack day: A tool to let authors set the tone of the comments and a tool for curating comments

At The Guardian’s two-day hack event last week, developers presented ideas and tools for improving The Guardian’s comment section. Some of the ideas that surfaced: A tool called “Setting the Tone” allows post authors to post comments alongside the articles to set the tone of the discussion. An idea from Guardian readers suggested curating comments […]

How The Washington Post plans and prepares its Snapchat stories

Snapchat can be a great way to tell a story while it’s happening, but that doesn’t mean news organizations can forgo preparation. This week, The Washington Post is sharing what it’s like to ride on public transportation around the world as part of its coverage of repairs to the Washington, D.C., Metro system. Before starting […]

Effective social media is more about a two-way street of engagement than just posting good content

Many news organizations, brands and individuals are all missing the mark when it comes to social media, Andrew Pelletier writes. While a lot of social media discussion focuses in on the content itself, Pelletier says engagement is even more important. Pelletier outlines four things influential social media accounts are doing, including how they respond to […]