Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Using Twitter as your wires

Starting my career as a news producer, managers told me to constantly check the wires for national and regional updates to interesting stories.

I would check our iNews wire connection and quickly found Twitter was much more up-to-date. Even The Associated Press, the usual wire service for news teams, tweeted updates before pushing updates to iNews and APExchange.

When a major story is happening, you don’t see it on Facebook, television or the wires first. You see that big story on Twitter. You can usually see how the story developed on Twitter, too.  

Twitter is now my main wire service.

It’s easy to use the old option as a crutch. Twitter is a strange place with unconfirmed craziness thrown around, but you should have your own set of rules to determine what’s real and what isn’t.

1. Look for @AP (or your preferred wire service) for updates

2. Find the subject’s Twitter account. 

I am always comfortable running with official statements on social media. If you feel iffy, attribute the information to where you found it. You can spread that information on Twitter with a plain retweet or a manual RT to add your own info.  

On air/online: “Crews deactivated a bomb at Local College, police on the scene said. Classes are canceled as investigators look for a suspect, Local College’s Twitter account confirmed. (add link to post online/pull up screenshot on air)”

3. Search for the local television station or newspaper account and attribute facts to them. 

You should probably keep checking their page for an accurate stream of information.

“Crews are looking into a bomb threat at @LocalCollege, @LocalNews reports.”

4. Use search tools to find tweets from the scene. 

Search keywords, location, hashtags, etc. using Twitter’s advanced search option. It can be a little harder to confirm info from these random people quickly, but it’s a good way to get an interview and at least hear rumors so they can be debunked or confirmed.

“WTH? Police are in my classroom rite now at @LocalCollege. #scared #TGIF - @LocalCollegeGirl” 
Do you use Twitter during your work day? Tell me why/why not.

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