CJA associate board centers first workshop on social media

As part of a move to offer a variety of new, yearly events, the Chicago Journalists Association’s associate board held its first workshop for college students and recent graduates Feb. 25 at DePaul University.

CNBC associate social media producer and CJA associate board director Lyanne Alfaro (right) helps a group of students with their Snapchat profile stories. Photo credit: Stephanie Choporis

CJA associate board director and CNBC associate social media producer Lyanne Alfaro led the hands-on event, which taught attendees how to use various social tools, such as Facebook Live and Snapchat, to tell more effective stories.

The goal of the workshop was to “focus on current events, the sentiment around social media and why it’s important,” Alfaro said, emphasizing that the social world changes daily. “I was happy to offer the latest tools to do social media for reporting to date.”

Since its formation three years ago, the associate board has hosted seasonal networking events and participated in high school journalism conferences. But CJA associate board chairman Stephanie Choporis said she wanted to start providing more educational opportunities, such as workshops, so her directors and other aspiring journalists could apply new skills to their assignments.

Alfaro streamed the beginning of the workshop via Facebook Live and noted that, according to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of American adults consume their news via social media, particularly Facebook.

During the two-hour session, attendees from schools across the Chicago area – including DePaul, Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – created Snapchat profile stories, explored Storify as another storytelling platform and received tips for reporting with Facebook Live and Twitter.

“These are the kind of skills you typically don’t learn in a classroom, and this is what we’re striving for with our events,” Choporis said.

Alfaro concluded by suggesting students monitor the future of visual content, as Facebook is predicted to eventually feature solely video posts. She told them to be original and descriptive when writing, as they may soon be competing with video.

The associate board currently consists of roughly 15 college students and recent graduates from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, DePaul University, Columbia College Chicago, Augustana College, Southern Illinois University and North Central College. Membership is free.

Students or recent graduates interested in joining should contact Choporis at stephanie@chicagocja.wpcomstaging.com for more information.