Q&A With Steven Luke on Social Media

Steven Luke covering the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Social media is one of the largest growing industries in the world but it’s also been one of the most beneficial additions to have and use as a company. Journalism, for example, has been heavily impacted by the increased use of social media. It helps journalists connect with sources, get information quickly, and have multiple outlets to produce their content on. 

Emmy Award winning journalist, Steven Luke, is the morning anchor for the “NBC7 News Today” show. According to NBCSanDiego.com, he has been on television, producing content for over 20 years with NBC7. Luke has been in the industry long enough to know that social media is a big part of it and this is how he uses it:

Zach Dinsmore: So, how often do you use social media for work?

Steven Luke: I consume a lot more than I put into. So, I would say daily.

ZD: What social media platform do you use the most?

SL: Gosh, for work or for personal? You know, it’s interesting. I’d say the big three for me is X. Formerly known as Twitter. I don’t know when we can stop saying ‘formerly known as Twitter’. So I would say X, Facebook, and Instagram. Twitter is interesting just to scroll through and kind of see what’s happening. It’s sort of like going to the t.v. guide channel. I’ll also use it to search stuff for breaking news, because that’s, a lot of times, where you’ll get like the first information on it.

I end up going to Facebook a lot because, you know, I’ve probably used that the longest, so it’s just sort of a habit, if you will. I would say I get the least value out of it in terms of consuming content, but that’s also kind of where I personally have my biggest following. So even though I’m not as good at posting as I should be these days, that’s where I will think maybe to post something first. 

 Instagram has been really helpful because I feel like younger people use Instagram more than- I mean I know that’s the case because I have kids- than Facebook. So, I cover the Olympics, and, say today, I found out about this one athlete who is potentially going to be on Team USA for Paris next summer and she’s from San Diego, and I’m wondering how to get in touch with her. So the first thing I do is, I go follow her on Instagram and then message her on Instagram. We’ll see if she gets back to me, but that’s worked for me in the past and it’s a great way to just get a feel for who somebody is.

ZD: How has the use of social media changed the journalism industry in your personal experience?

SL: Well, I’d say everybody knows what everyone’s doing along the process a lot of the time. I mean, it used to be that when I started out in this business, no one knew what anyone else was doing until everyone saw the four o’clock or six o’clock or eleven o’clock news pop up, and it’s like ‘oh, this was this’ or ‘oh we missed this’. Now, you almost instantaneously know what other people value in terms of their news and what they’re working on, and what they have. So, I think it’s kind of up to the competition a little bit there, because you have to know when to use social media and when not.  If you want to keep something, you know, if you want to make it your own and not have anyone else get a sniff of it, then obviously you’re not throwing anything out on social media.

ZD: What is a tip or trick for using social media?

SL: Oh, good question. I would say that just focusing on the main thing and keeping the main thing. The main thing is even more important in social media. And that’s something that, ideally, you should do in storytelling in general, but there’s even like less wiggle room with social media, where if you do a post about it and if you put a picture up there that is about a story and you want it to be about this thing that the picture doesn’t really articulate that well, it’s not going to come across. You know what I mean? It’s like social media viewers have a one track mind when it comes to posts. I think people on social media also want more authenticity and they don’t want the formal mumbo jumbo that you might hear on TV. They want the barriers broken down, for sure. So I think any way you can do that is really gonna be the secret sauce.

ZD: What is something to look out for in social media?

SL: I think it’s just not triple editing anything that you put out there. Because even humor can sometimes come across the wrong way, you know? And so, it’s like, okay, how edgy do I want to be? How authentic do I want to be?

ZD: What  advice do you have for me as I enter into the industry post graduation?

SL:  I would say it would be to really, from the beginning, set your sights high. This is an industry that can be brutal in terms of schedules and salaries. Yeah, on the lower end, and I mean, it’s not horrible, you could certainly do a lot worse. A lot of jobs, at some point, when you turn a certain age, it’s like, ‘oh, I put in the hard work and now it’s easy.’ That never happens in journalism, you can never take your foot off the accelerator. So, I think that it’s really kind of figuring out what it is that you want to do at this point, and then never losing sight of that.

I would constantly be cognizant of what it is you wanna do and where you wanna be and how do I get there. And it’s all people. I mean it’s the relationships that get you in the door. And then it’s your body of work that’s going to stand out and let you keep that job.