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Twitter is an excellent source for finding stories and engaging with audiences, but have you ever used the platform to get students talking about journalism?

Kate Nash Cunningham, digital journalism instructor at the University of New Mexico, did exactly that. In this article on Media Shift, she explains how she used Twitter to connect her students to news, by initially giving them a 'social media presence assignment'.

Her students would have a consistent presence on Twitter, tweeting about articles, videos or photos, and then talk about the quality of the journalism — not the content.

"These exercises get them reading news stories and thinking about the mechanics of how those stories came to be, something I think can only help them as they start to write their own stories," she said.

"Public posts put students in touch with new journalism education resources, they force students to read and analyse current reporting, and they teach students the value of having a professional Twitter account for discussing reporting in a way that a class-only discussion board can’t."

At the end of the term, students write a short reflection on what they learned, what went well and what didn't, and how they will continue to use Twitter in the future to find stories and build their professional social media skills.

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