Sean McCullum

STU journalism student Sean McCullum won the John H. MacDonald award for social media. (Submitted by Carmen Vela)

Sean McCullum has won the John H. MacDonald award for social media for his work as multimedia editor at The Brunswickan student newspaper.

The fourth-year journalism student at St. Thomas University won the national student newspaper award for his work in redesigning UNB's student paper website and increasing its social media presence.

"When I took on the job we had basically a not so great website. It was basically a blog. It was a long list of headlines," he said.

On social media, McCullum changed what he described as "burst tweeting."

"On the day of publication you'd get all the stories of that week posted in a row, in a direct row and the same thing with Twitter," he said.

McCullum said it was obnoxious to look at and viewers didn't like it.

So he undertook the job of revamping and re-modelling the site. He says the work has been fun.

Readership doubles

To make The Brunswickan's social media worth following, McCullum began scheduling the posts throughout the week and doing teasers and promotions of what was coming.

"It's a lot of cross-platform promotion so all these different posts point back to the website and it's been driving our traffic up quite well."

McCullum says scheduling posts frees up time to allow him to get out with a camera and take pictures to share on the various platforms as well.

"It's been fun to watch. We get a lot of traffic in from Facebook and Twitter now."

McCullum says the numbers in readership have doubled with the changes.

"Content is fire and social media is gasoline"

The Brunswickan was also shortlisted for best video and best website in the multimedia category.

McCullum says while students in the journalism program learn about the importance of having a social media and digital presence, it is up to students to develop the skills and put them in practice.

"I remember reading this where it said content is fire and social media is gasoline, so my job is just pouring copious amounts of gasoline as much as I can onto our content," said McCullum.

McCullum, who has been applying for jobs after graduation, says people have to use their social media platforms differently to promote and deliver their content.