Student Social Media Directors, Check Out Michigan Daily’s Citizen Journalism Tool #MichLinks

Student news outlet social media directors, take note: a reader engagement exercise potentially worth emulating is now in its third month of operation at The Michigan Daily and seemingly finding success.

As the Daily explains to its readers, #MichLinks is a “citizen journalism tool that compiles reporting about Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan.  If you find an interesting piece about the city of Ann Arbor, college life or the university, send a tweet with the hashtag #Michlinks for a chance to be published on our website. . . . #Michlinks was inspired by Propublica’s social networking tool #Muckreads.  Similar to #Muckreads, the goal of #Michlinks is to use social networking to enhance your access to reporting about our community.  Though the Daily will contribute a number of interesting pieces to #Michlinks, your participation is key to its success.”

It is a wonderful social media daily drill for four reasons:

1) It provides an impetus and an organized system for staff to keep track of related stories reported by other news media.  Every day, the Michigan Daily has forced itself to keep up with what its local competitors and the national media are saying about Michigan Wolverines and people who love them.  It’s something that student news teams should be doing anyway, but as I’ve seen firsthand, regular, full-on media monitoring often gets tossed in the coulda-woulda-shoulda-will-do-more-next-semester pile.  #MichLinks though is public and daily, making it much tougher to procrastinate about or overlook.

2) It enables easy-breezy audience involvement and a true feeling of reader contribution.

3) It provides a public, easy-to-spot avenue for PR peeps and marketers to promote news, and a confirmation for the Daily staff that the news the paper is promoting is at least worthwhile enough to have been featured in a reputable outlet.

4) It is a manageable means of providing a fuller, richer body of content online, giving readers one more reason to turn to the Daily site first for all related news.  A little aggregation atop tons of original reporting is ethically A-OK.

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