Sure, Rick Does It, But Should You? Local News Anchors, Reporters and Twitter

CNN’s Rick Sanchez recently Twittered his way through knee surgery: “The IV is in!” Just one more way the ex-WSVN/Miami anchor has carved a unique niche for himself as the most Twittering of TV types. But he’s hardly the only one.

Last night I had a chat with a reporter in Kansas Twittering his way through a small town city council meeting. And yes, they were tweeting back in rural Kansas. The question is, are you? Or, as Mike Elgan writes in NetworkWorld: should you? “Is it OK for reporters and editors to tweet live events? By doing so, the news is already out there by the time colleagues get out of the event and back to their laptops. Is that fair?”

Take a moment and check out Twitter if you haven’t already. Odds are one of the stations in your market has a Twitter account, and uses it to create a unique connection between viewer, station, and in many cases, talent. Reporters tweet about the various behind-the-scenes screwups that befall us each and every day, and apparently, some Twittering viewers love that stuff.

I’ve seen other anchors tweeting out some pretty lame stuff: “Off to anchor the news at 5! Watch me on Action News 7!” Yay. Neat. Un-follow.

Rick Sanchez/CNN

Rick Sanchez/CNN

And Elgin’s no fan of on-set, in-show Twittering, a la Rick Sanchez.  “CNN has gone Twitter-mad, with several anchors featuring Twitter answers on screen, including and especially Rick Sanchez . I even saw CNN promote an upcoming segment by showing the anchor typing a question into the Twitter “What are you doing?” box in real time.  Integrating Twitter into TV news was novel at first, but do viewers really want to turn on the TV to watch the news anchor using another medium?”

How are you using Twitter? And–I hate to even bring this up for fear of giving up my advantage–but are you, as I am, getting stories through Twitter? (it’s a goldmine) Share your experiences.

Read Mike Elgan’s take here.

UPDATE:  An interesting take today from Steve Rubel’s MicroPersuasion:  “The upshot is that today it’s impossible to draw a line between social media and traditional media – it’s all one.”  Read the entire post here.

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2 Comments

Filed under Local News 2.0, Social Media

2 responses to “Sure, Rick Does It, But Should You? Local News Anchors, Reporters and Twitter

  1. Thanks for mentioning my rural Kansas city council live-tweet! I am one of two rural weeklies in Kansas using Twitter, but this was my first live-tweet. During the meeting, I was getting responses from folks in the county, as well as a handful from around the state and nation.
    This morning, I already received a response from a city council member who signed up for Twitter and made a correction to my tweets… oops.
    In Kansas, radio and TV seem to be jumping on Twitter faster than newspapers. I think it offers a nice accessory to a blog for posting quick news bits. It will never replace feature writing or in-depth government reporting, though.
    The future of journalism is changing, even here in a town of under 1,200 people in the middle of the country.

  2. Mark, As we’ve talked before, I’m getting pretty good support to tweet in my anchoring job, now. I’m not sure my boss gets it, but he’s starting to see the effect it’s having on viewers. Some of them are actually switching channels ’cause they’re more enamored of “new media” than they are local news allegiances, and they see that “Dave C guy” tweeting during the newscast…so they switch. If I mention it while I’m on the air, it brings even more tweeples.

    Dave C
    Anchor, KLAS-TV (CBS)
    Las Vegas, NV

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