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So you're on Twitter and Facebook? What next?

So you're on Twitter and Facebook? What next?

Picture of Angilee Shah

The Reynolds Center for Business Journalism offered three seminars on social media this week. I won't do another post on the virtues and anxieties and basics of using social media. Instead, I'll focus on using social media to be a better reporter.

The week's health media opportunities are at the end of this post. You can keep up with Career GPS via RSS.

Robin Phillips, web managing editor for the Reynolds Center, makes the case for the inevitability of social media. "You've probably all heard this sentence: If Facebook were a country it would be third largest in population," she says. Once you've dived into this vast world, what next?

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn dominate most journalists' social media lives. What all three of these platforms -- and others, such as Flickr and Google Reader -- provide are speed, distribution power, and ways to cultivate and diversify your base of sources.

They differ in terms of the types of relationships they foster. Twitter is great for connecting with people you don't know, real-time search and crowdsourcing. Facebook works better for personal relationships, finding sources and sharing your work. LinkedIn, designed initially as a professional network, is a great extension for your source list because your connections update their own contact information.

It is simple to automatically connect all three of these networks -- you can tweet something that then gets posted to Facebook and LinkedIn -- but Phillips cautions against this practice because each audience is unique. I use a Facebook application called Smart Tweets because you can choose not to allow tweets that are replies, retweets and hashtags to become status updates on Facebook.

Google Realtime

Social media is also useful for getting information from networks that you are not a part of. Google RealTime now searches social media sites and public social media updates are making gains in search ranking. Twitter's advanced search also helps you search for tips; particularly useful is its ability to search by location. You can find tweets about the flu near Los Angeles, for example, if you're looking for new sources or background to a story about flu season. LinkedIn's search tool is powerful because if you are searching for a source, it shows you how you are connected to them. This allows you to easily ask one of your colleagues to introduce you to a source or editor.

Here's something to look forward to: Storify is a new tool that allows you to add graphical interest and social media storytelling to your website. On new sites and social media widgets, "be an early tester but late adopter," Phillips says.

Here are some more tips for the social media adopter:

-Fill out your Twitter profile and provide a link back to more information about yourself. Provide any disclaimers about your affiliations or the nature of your opinions.

-LinkedIn groups provide a great place for sources on your beat and help your stories go viral.

-Don't just share your own links -- share others' work and be a resource as well, Phillips says.

-On Twitter, use hashtags.

-"Lose the guilt," Phillips says. You're not going to see everything but you can set things up so that you catch important news on your beat.

-"Journalistic ethics trump any kind of social media," Phillips warns. Social media is about the relationships -- it's a tip sheet. You have to follow up. Summarily quoting social media, she says, is a slippery slope to reporting unverified information.

Feeling a bit overloaded? Check out Jody Ranck's tips on being an "informavore". I'm partial to folders in Google Reader and creating Twitter lists to help control my information flow.

It's self-promotion time! Follow me on Twitter @angshah, follow Center for Health Journalism Digital @ReportingHealth, and tell us how to follow you in comments.

Health Media Opportunities

New Job and Internship Listings

Curator, The Tech Health and Biotech Gallery
Location: San Jose, CA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Museum, Website, Education

Health Care Reporter, Capitol Public Radio (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Sacramento, CA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Radio

Reporter/Correspondent, Money, Power & Influence in Science & Health, National Public Radio
Location: Washington, DC
Status: Full Time
Medium: Radio, Online

Reporter, FairWarning
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Online

Researcher and Fact Checker, Men's Health
Location: Emmaus, PA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Magazine

Faculty position in health communication, Communication at the University of Pennsylvania
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Education

Fellowships and Grants

Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism
Eligibility: Open to journalists with at least three years of experience and citizenship from United States, Romania or South Africa
Included: $10,000 stipends to report on mental health issues, mentorship to complete reporting project
Deadline: Apr. 18, 2011
From the Website: "Fellowships are tailored to suit the needs, interests, and experiences of each fellow. They also generate knowledge and information to benefit the mental health field and the public. When appropriate, the program requests that fellows conduct one training session related to mental health and journalism for their peers during the fellowship year."

National Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid six-day program in Los Angeles, $200 stipend and upon completion of what are expected to be ambitious, major fellowship projects.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "To stimulate collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, we encourage applicants to propose a joint project for use by both media outlets. Up to two collaborators for each project may receive a stipend."

Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Grants, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to all journalist members of Center for Health Journalism Digital. Print, broadcast and new media journalists from anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply, as are all past fellows of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships.
Included: Provides funding for proposed stories or multimedia projects that illuminate or expose critical community health or community health policy issues and acceptance to the National Health Journalism Fellowship program.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "Proposals can focus on a specific health topic or delve into a confluence of circumstances and conditions that impact health, including environment; social class; crime and violence; urban development; access to health resources or the lack thereof; school absenteeism; transportation or city planning, and and disparities in health. Topics that would NOT be eligible would include clinical trials, medical research, or the latest treatments for a disease or any project involving a population outside of the United States."

California Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media in California, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid seminars in Los Angeles, mentoring for completion of reporting project
Deadline: Aug. 26, 2011
From the Website: "During the Fellowship sessions, Fellows get plenty of time to discuss with experts, and with each other, strategies for covering health news with authority and sophistication. Between the two sessions and for three months after the second session, Fellows confer by phone and e-mail with veteran journalists who guide them through work on major Fellowship projects."

Awards with Upcoming Deadlines

The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize
Eligibility: This award is open to citizens of a Commonwealth country or of the Irish Republic or those who have been ordinarily resident and working in a Commonwealth country or in the Irish Republic for a minimum of three years immediately prior to being proposed;
Award: The Prize consists of a silver gilt medal and a gift of £2500, which are presented by the President of the Royal Society on the occasion of the annual Michael Faraday Prize lecture (the recipient of the Prize is required to give an agreed lecture as part of the Society's annual programme of public events).
Deadline: Feb. 14, 2011
From the Website: "The Royal Society Michael Faraday Prize is the United Kingdom's premier award for science communication and is awarded annually for excellence in communicating science to UK audiences. The award was established by Council in 1986 and is given annually to the scientist or engineer whose expertise in communicating scientific ideas in lay terms is exemplary."

National Institute for Health Care Management Research and Educational Foundation Print Journalism Award and Television and Radio Journalism Award
Eligibility: Entries published in 2010
Award:$10,000 awards for general circulation publication, trade publication,and broadcast winners
Deadline: Feb. 15, 2011
From the Website: "Advances in health policy find their foundation in academic research and are achieved through public discourse facilitated by the media. To recognize the critical role both the research and journalism communities play in the health care system, each year NIHCM Foundation presents awards for outstanding work in health care research and journalism."

AHCJ-California Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Full-time California print, broadcast and online journalists and part-timers or freelancers who derive the majority of their income from journalism
Award:Financial assistance to attend Health Journalism 2011, the annual conference of the Association of Health Care Journalists Apr. 14-17 in Philadelphia
Deadline: Feb. 23, 2011
From the Website: "Fellowships are open to full-time California print, broadcast and online journalists and part-timers or freelancers who derive the majority of their income from journalism."

Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism
Eligibility: Open to journalists in all media working in the United States, Canada or Mexico who report on North American West environmental topics in 2010
Award: $5,000 prize is awarded at the annual Knight-Risser Prize Symposium at Stanford University
Deadline: Mar. 15, 2011 (book deadline has passed)
From the Website: "We want to reward and showcase reporting that best addresses important Western environmental issues - whether or not it was produced by journalists based in Western news organizations. Starting this year, we invite new players, from startups to nonprofits, students and citizen journalists to submit their finest work. Please refer to our standards for journalistic independence as explained below in the eligibility section."

Award for Excellence in Science and Medical Journalism, The Endocrine Society
Eligibility: English-language journalism related to endocrinology and published or broadcast between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011
Award: Award plaque and travel to the Society's annual meeting awards dinner in June 2011
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "The award recipient is selected by the Society's Advocacy and Public Outreach Core Committee (APOCC). The committee will give weight to entries that demonstrate thorough research, accurate reporting, originality and contribute to the public understanding of endocrinology."

Pfizer Award
Eligibility: This prize is awarded in recognition of an outstanding book dealing with the history of science. The book must be published in English during a period of three calendar years immediately preceding the year of competition (books eligible for 2006 were published in 2003, 2004, or 2005). Edited volumes, as well as works with more than 2 authors, are not eligible. A multi-volume work by one or two authors may be nominated only after the publication of all the volumes.
Award: The award consists of a medal and $2,500.
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "The prize committee may consider books where medicine or technology is a central theme. However, both the Society for the History of Technology and the American Association for the History of Medicine award their own prizes and while strict separation of fields is not always possible or desirable, the Pfizer Award should be given to a book that is principally a history of science."

Annual Awards for Reporting on the Environment, Society of Environmental Journalism
Eligibility: Any journalism that is predominantly about an environmental subject and published or broadcast in 2010 with $30-$80 entry fee
Award: $500 first-place, $200 second-place and $100 third-place prizes may be awarded in all categories.
Deadline: Apr. 1, 2011
From the Website: "Honors outstanding environmental reporting. Award is given to encourage journalists to help educate the public and public officials on environmental issues. Results achieved by the reporting may be included."

Educational Opportunities

2011 Medicine in the Media Course, National Institutes of Health's Office of Medical Applications of Research
Eligibility: Priority will be given to credentialed, working health journalists in the mass media
Program: Course runs fromJuly 13-16, 2011 on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, accommodations and meals provided but participants will be responsible for covering travel costs
Deadline: Feb. 28, 2011
From the Website: "The course examines the challenges and opportunities inherent in the process of communicating the results of medical research to the public. Stressing an evidence-based approach and re-examining intuitive beliefs about medicine, the course will prepare participants for the crucial task of interpreting and evaluating research findings, selecting stories that hold meaningful messages for the public, and placing them in the appropriate context."

Masters in Specialized Journalism, USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication
Eligibility: Complete online application; separate requirements for each program
Program: Nine-month program with flexible schedule
Deadline: March 5, 2011
From the Website: "These highly customized degree programs are primarily designed for experienced journalists and gifted amateurs; the arts program welcomes practicing artists and recent graduates of arts academies and conservatories."

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