Indy Star Social Media Past and Present

The take on Indy Star Social Media Past and Present: Details via Amy Bartner, the digital media guru (er, engagement and utility manager) at The Indy Star, and guest of Indy Social Media.

The new Indy Star office being negotiated at the vacated Nordstrom’s space in the mall will have jumbotrons, huge windows, a news ticker and a café for the public to hang. (I guess there will be no need for security guards and name badges anymore, y’all.)

She doesn’t read the print edition of her newspaper (hmmm).

One of the crankiest moments for The Star on social was when the newspaper moved to paywalls (meaning you had to pay for online content – boos, hisses and then some). “We were really undervaluing ourselves and giving it away for free.”

Reporters and editors are being encouraged more to jump into the “comments” sections underneath articles to moderate and add to the conversation.

Any reporter can get a verified account now on Twitter with 3,000 followers by submitting an official official email from the paper. Editor Jeff Taylor is not verified. She said he doesn’t have enough followers.

Old school journalists still don’t get new school journalists (like inserting opinions into tweets and other social commentary).

The online crew of which she is part sits smack in the center of the newsroom.

She couldn’t remember the four rungs of the social media ladder used at the paper, but said the first was to be present and the second was to talk to readers and solicit ideas.

Gannett, owner of The Star, does not yet have a social media policy in place at the paper, but likely will by the fall.

Tweeting, how much you do it and how many followers you land, is now part of personnel reviews for employees.

Trending topics do drive coverage.

Tweets are not signed by those posting on the main Indy Star account, though she said The Associated Press uses the dash and individual reporter’s initials. She said “no one cares.”

Should she follow the state GOP party on Twitter? Does it imply partisanship? “If I friend someone, I just want to hear what they have to say.”

Star corrections don’t happen on Twitter if a Tweet is inaccurate, but they will appear on the paper’s Facebook wall.

In the early days when she was a mojo (mobile journalist), lugging around equipment that weighed 35 pounds, shooting video and taking notes, she said readers were underwhelmed – with some of her posts getting a little more than 100 views. “The payoff was terrible. We didn’t know what people were talking about. No one at all wanted school board members talking before a camera.” (But she did interview Santa Claus about his favorite cookies.)

Her best moment in social media? When an editor finally “got it” and referred to reporters all over town tweeting during Super Bowl 46 as similar to the AP wire.

Her worst moment in social media? When paywalls went up. “It gets exhausting to say – I’m valuable.”

And because we’re prone to attention lapses at social media events, can I just say – loved her shoes! So for the Indy Star social media past and present watchers, weigh in.

P.S. Amy Bartner sent us an email on October 11 in response to this post. Here’s the email she sent, though she didn’t want to post in the comments section:

Kyle —

I’m not sure how I missed your writeup from July’s breakfast, but I just stumbled on it today. I wanted to make sure you corrected this factual error: Although I did say Twitter will verify any professional journalist (which is true), I did not say they must have 3,000 followers. Jeff Taylor is verified, and a quick click to his Twitter account from your own inline link shows that. If you could correct that, that’d be great.

And yes, I do not read the print product and I am not afraid to say that — I hope you also remember the rest of that context, which is that I read the online product through and through, as it’s updated throughout the day.

I’m sorry I was unable to keep your attention, but thank you for coming regardless.


(FYI — As of Oct. 11 with Amy’s update, Jeff Taylor had 588 followers.)

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