RTNDA@NAB: Stations Atwitter Over Twitter
‘Facebook on crack or Red Bull’ an effective newsgathering tool
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/20/2009 9:03:09 PM
If Oprah can use Twitter, so can TV stations, said the panelists at the RTNDA session Twitter 101 in Las Vegas. While many deride the microblogging trend as a narcissistic fad, KOMU Columbia (MO)’s Jennifer Reeves, KCTV Kansas City’s Kelly Hicks and Arizona State’s Bill Silcock said Twitter can be used like a police scanner to ferret out tips, can offer transparency about the newsgathering process, and will make for a tighter bond with viewers.
Reeves, new media director at KOMU, said Twitter is an increasingly essential newsgathering tool. “It’s your Facebook status on crack or speed or Red Bull or whatever,” she said of Twitter’s 140-character updates. “As journalists we have to wrap our heads around completely new ways to have conversations.”
Reeves offered tips on searching Twitter for trend stories, using the direct message function to communicate in private with valuable sources, and general rules for getting along in the microblogosphere.
Pointing out the 14 million (and rapidly growing) Twitter users, Hicks said the program is good for giving viewers a peek into the news process. “Viewers like it when you pull back the curtain and show them the process,” she said. Connecting with young viewers now, she added, can turn them into news viewers when they mature.
She also offered a list of Do’s (Tweet frequently, ask questions to engage viewers) and Don’t’s (diss your station, even in jest, show your hand on an exclusive story).
The session was lively, with constant interaction from the crowd, which was comprised mostly of fresh-faced young people—many who Twittered the session in real time.
Out of 2,200 licensed TV stations, in the United States, there is a little over 500 on Twitter. The real growth started in January/February. It's slowed down since then but still continues to grow. check out www.tvontwitter.com for a list of the stations.
Sergio Chapa - 5/21/2009 10:32:02 PM EDT
It may be taking management awhile to accept Twitter...
but reporters, like me, have been using it as a news gathering tool for quite some time.
Social media is one of the best ways to make & find contacts, generate story ideas, and get feedback from viewers in real time. Plus, you can promote upcoming investigations and boil down idea pitches to 140 characters. (Yea... No more 3 page news releases to decipher!)
Twitter and other social networking sites are just as effective as working the phone, but I think you can actually get more value because you're talking with (& listening to) your viewers daily.
Cindy Morrison - 4/21/2009 3:10:46 PM EDT
Jerome Beacon - 4/21/2009 11:03:15 AM EDT
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