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Yes, I have an agenda: Behind the scenes on social media at WITF

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Here’s a shot of my work space at WITF. The Very Hungry Caterpillar belongs to a colleague. 

Yes, I have an agenda

My agenda is to inform you about what our reporters have learned. 

We are member-supported public media, and we are working for you.

On any given day, Katie Meyer is burning the midnight oil covering the PA General Assembly. Marie Cusick is covering DEP hearings that go for hours. Emily Previti is scrutinizing municipal finance. Rachel McDevitt has her eye on something interesting I never thought of, like this story on a church going solar. Scott LaMar is prepping right up until Smart Talk’s theme music starts to give people the best possible episode of Smart Talk at 9:06 a.m. Brett Sholtis is learning the ropes on producing audio stories, after coming to us from the York Daily Record. He’s jumping in on things like the Penn State – Highmark partnership. Joe Ulrich is showcasing musical talent in central Pennsylvania.

While he doesn’t get many bylines, Tim Lambert hosts Morning Edition from 5:00-9:00 a.m.and then supervises the news team and edits their work for the rest of the day.

My top priority is to make our audience aware of the results of this team’s hard work.

The rest of my job is organizational; I do social media for non-news purposes and support our web, marketing, and pledge efforts.

How we decide what goes on WITF social channels

We ask ourselves: “Does this add value to someone’s day?”

We honor and appreciate the intellectual curiosity of our audience. What often “sells” on social media is fury or heartbreak. We avoid raising your blood pressure for the sake of engagement stats.

You may be sad or emotional about the stories we tell, but that’s not what drives our social share decisions.

We treat our social networks like programs. They must be organized, curated, and scheduled in advance. Some days our shared stories are more national in nature than others.

Part of my job is to check our stats over time and evaluate what’s working for us and what’s not.

Our comment policy

Everyone is invited to talk about the ideas raised in the story, the policies at issue, the reporting, and/or the information we find. We reserve the right to remove or delete public comments that are abusive, vulgar*, profane, discriminatory, threatening to a person or group of people, and/or promote private interests. We take responsibility for conversations that we host, and we do not allow people to abuse one another on our social space.

*Most people don’t post vulgar comments on a social platform that’s instantly connected to family, friends, coworkers and former high school crushes. Most people.

How I got into public media

First, I was a listener, just like you. My husband and I were on a tight budget during my summer of bar exam study in Carlisle, so we economized by not having TV. My only connection to the outside world for several months was WITF 89.5. (The internet was slow then!) I listened all the time.

By the time I had a job and was commuting every day, WITF was a key part of my day.

My career path was practice of law Ã¢Å¾¡Ã¯¸  law school staff, eventually law school marketing and communications Ã¢Å¾¡Ã¯¸ social media at WITF.

If you are thinking of law school or of being a social media editor, I am happy to talk about what I’ve learned along the way. You can reach me on twitter @crystalstryker or via email to

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