I will be leading three Twitter workshops for journalists in Ottawa next week, and I’d like some help from journalists using Twitter.
Please share your best stories (with links, if possible, to tweets/stories) about using Twitter as a journalism tool in the comments here:
- What’s been your best experience using Twitter to connect with sources on a breaking news story?
- What’s been your best experience crowdsourcing a story using Twitter?
- What’s the best story idea or tip you got from Twitter?
- How has Twitter helped you monitor events, sources and issues on your beat?
- What’s been your best experience live-tweeting an event?
- What’s been your best experience feeding tweets from the public into a blog, liveblog or web site?
- Have you used Twitter successfully (or unsuccessfully) for interviewing?
- What’s been your most innovative use of Twitter for journalism?
- How have you used Twitter to build traffic for your site or blog?
- What are some helpful links you have found through Twitter, or ways you have shared links through Twitter?
- What kinds of people do you follow and why? How did you find them?
- How has Twitter helped your writing?
- What problems have you encountered using Twitter as a journalist?
- How do you verify information you gather or sources you encounter using Twitter?
And if I wasn’t smart enough to ask the right question for your story, just tell me the story anyway.
I also need to update my Twitter tips for journalists. So I want you to share your best tips for journalists using Twitter. But don’t share them here. Share them on Twitter, replying to me and/or using the #twjtips hashtag.
I’ll prime the pump with two stories and tips from those journalists. Twitter was an invaluable tool for Bill Doskoch of toronto.ctv.ca in telling the story of a SWAT team swarming the office of a guy whose neighbor had seen him brandishing a handgun. The officers learned he had just assembled the toy handgun from a Legos kit. Bill’s account:
I was working the night it happened, and first heard of a gun call, but it didn’t sound like much. Next morning, I saw a Twitter link to Jeremy Bell’s blog post. I tracked him down at his office and eventually got a telephone interview with him.
He didn’t want to identify who sicced the cops on him, but by reading his Twitter feed, I could figure it out by myself. I contacted Michael Dent, did an interview, and he was kind enough to supply the picture. As near as I could tell, I was the only reporter to interview both parties and get the photo.
It’s not like great stories fall into my lap every day through Twitter, but it should still be part of every reporter’s toolbox. I would stress to young journos, however, that reporting should be treated as an active process, not a passive one.
The other story comes from Kate Dubinski, a reporter for the London Free Press, who wrote for the Canadian Journalism Project about live-tweeting the high-profile Bandidos murder trial — six men charged with eight counts of first-degree murder. I encourage you to read her full post, but here’s a passage:
In my view, the potential for Twitter is huge: we were first in getting out the verdicts, for example, which were then typed up for our site by people back in the newsroom. It offers a way to get people into the courtroom (or city council chambers) in a way that you can’t do with print or television. We interacted with people we never would have tracked down if it hadn’t been for tweeting the trial, and we interviewed them for more in-depth stories after the court case.
Those are good stories and helpful tips. I hope you can help with more stories and tips.