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How journalists and newsrooms can use Pinterest

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As Pinterest grows in use, it grows in value to journalists and news organizations.

At least for now, Pinterest seems to be most valuable relating to lifestyle coverage, contests, community information and events and photography. I haven’t seen any indication that it’s useful in breaking news coverage (though that could change, or you might have some examples to show how it’s already being used).

Here are ways that I suggest journalists and news organizations consider using Pinterest:

Community information

I’ve noted before that news organizations need to develop multimedia directories of community businesses and organizations, a place for the community to come for information and a place for businesses and organizations to advertise (paying to add their own content to the directory and news-archive content you provide on every business). You could do a separate community-directory Pinterest account, with boards for various business categories (restaurants, auto repair, landscaping, etc.). You would pin logos, building photos, product photos, etc.

Archives

One of the best opportunities Pinterest might present is to highlight archival content. You could have Pinboards of historic front pages, photos from annual community events and big events in your community’s history.

The Salt Lake Tribune, which runs weekly photo galleries of community history, has a popular Pinboard of historic photos with 899 followers. The York Daily Record also has a Pinboard of historic photos with 315 followers.

Sports

As I noted recently in my post on my own Pinterest use and in a post on sports engagement, I think use of Pinterest in sharing sports photos will grow and the Pinterest gender gap (its users are mostly women) will shrink.

Continuing on the archive theme, I think sports departments can generate significant traffic to archived stories and photos by creating boards for all the past seasons of local pro and major college sports teams (perhaps even high school teams). And if you have a particular star, present or past, they might merit their own Pinboards.

The Salt Lake Tribune demonstrates the appeal of archival sports photos with its Pinboard on the 2002 Winter Olympics, which has 853 followers.

Newsroom information and promotion

You can and should use Pinboards to tell people about your newsroom.

I like the Daily Freeman’s staff board, which includes email links and phone numbers (you might add links to Twitter, Facebook or other social accounts or a staff member’s blog). Buffy Andrews has a board for her colleagues on the York Daily Record’s features staff.

The York Daily Record has Pinboards of front pages, people showing off the print edition on their vacations and Smart magazine covers.

Other Pinterest uses

Potholes, etc. A newsroom could promote its use of SeeClickFix through a board of before-and-after photos of potholes, burned-out streetlights, messy parks and other community features in need of attention.

Weather photos. A newsroom could use several Pinboards (maybe even a separate Pinterest account) on local weather, with a board for each month or season and separate boards for big storms or heat waves. I suspect sharing of weather photos will become big on Pinterest.

Police news. The San Jose Mercury News has a Pinboard of crime mug shots with more than 200 followers and a Best of Crime Blotter board.

Enable Pinterest sharing. Keep in mind that one of the biggest benefits of Pinterest is that people will share your photos on their own boards. Put “Pin it” buttons on your news sites to encourage sharing of your content, and try to run photos, videos or other visual content with each story.

Turn quotes into visuals. Some stories don’t have accompanying photos. Daily Local News Editor Andy Hachadorian saves quotes from stories as photos, over a blurred image of a newspaper page, an idea modeled on the Wall Street Journal’s quotes board.

Photo galleries. I don’t suggest publishing whole photo galleries to Pinterest. But pinning a single photo or a few photos linking to the gallery (and noting that it’s one of a gallery), as Stannard does for New Haven Register photos, will drive some traffic for photos on your site.

Projects. A project in your newspaper should have a Pinboard, as the York Daily Record does for its Remember series, and as we’re doing for our Digital First Media American Homecomings project. (This is an example of boards that can be shared. This board, which was just launched, will be featured on several of our newsrooms’ Pinterest pages, with multiple contributors.)

Other visual content. One of the most popular Salt Lake Tribune boards, with 899 followers, collects the editorial cartoons of Pat Bagley.

Advertising. The Berkshire Eagle has a board for its Big Deals.

This is an excerpt and is posted with permission. Read the full article here on Steve Buttry's blog, The Buttry Diary. Buttry is the director of community engagement and social media at Digital First Media.

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