I’m leading an advanced Twitter workshop for journalists at the New Haven Register today. I’ll be trying to help journalists who are using Twitter some, perhaps to tweet links to their stories, but aren’t making full use of Twitter to do better journalism.
Most of the points I will be covering are in my updated Twitter tips for journalists or my live-tweeting suggestions, so I won’t repeat them here. We’ll also talk about crowdsourcing and curation, which I have blogged about separately. I’ll also share some tips I’ve blogged about relating to accuracy and verification, as well as tips from Craig Silverman and Mandy Jenkins:
I crowdsourced among my Journal Register Co. colleagues seeking examples and and anecdotes and was pleased to see that many JRC colleagues are making excellent use of Twitter to improve their journalism. Alexandra Sanders, a New Haven Register reporter, provided an example from her Hurricane Irene coverage:
Because I was doing updates from my apartment and not pounding the pavement in Madison, it was hard to know the extent of the damage other than what the First Selectman/Emergency Management people told me. In order to do more than just graze the surface, I posed the question on Twitter that was something to the effect of “How did the hurricane impact you?” After that, I tried using Advanced Twitter Search, which gave me a few results in Madison but nothing I could really use for a story. I also messaged some of my sources who I know have Twitter accounts to see if they had stories to share. This was crucial because all phone lines were down in the two towns I cover and many people were relying on their smartphones for hurricane news and communication.
I not only received a handful of tweets from people describing their property damage and telling me whether they expected the storm to be worse or if what we got seemed about right in terms of what they prepared for, but some of them sent me photos of damage all over town.
JRC journalists are busy live-tweeting two different murder trials this week:
- Katie Nowak Roberts of the Troy Record live-tweeted the trial of Joseph McElheny, using a Twitter widget to feed the tweets into the website.
- Luther Turmelle of the Register live-tweeting (from the @nhrlive account) the trial of Joshua Komisarjevsky.
Other recent JRC live-tweeting examples:
- Patricia Doxsey of the Daily Freeman in Kingston, N.Y., fed her tweets from a county budget meeting into a CoverItLive event.
- Sports columnist Jack McCaffrey of the Times in Delaware County, Pa., tweeted live coverage of the Philadelphia Phillies playoff game with the St. Louis Cardinals.
- Philadelphia Eagles beat writer Bob Grotz live-tweeted Coach Andy Reid’s press conference:
- Jennifer Carboni of the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa., live-tweeted a September court hearing for a pastor charged with child molestation.
Andy Stettler provided several examples from The Reporter in Lansdale, Pa.:
Almost had a tornado in Lansdale, we asked locals to share their photos, videos, stories, etc.
When a Chester County plant was evacuated, I put this together for the Philly Cluster. One TV station had said all of the county was to be evacuated but I was able to find a Police Department on Facebook who confirmed that wasn’t true.
Storify of locals tweeting a hailstorm start to finish.
This example from Andy shows that you can localize a national story that everyone is talking about by curating local tweets about the big topic of the day: Local opinions about Netflix rate change.
Ivan Lajara of the Daily Freeman in Kingston, N.Y., provided a timely breaking-news example:
Tuesday I saw a tweet:
Now: Reported helicopter down in East River at 34th Street.—
FDNY (@FDNYnews) October 04, 2011
This sparked a search for ‘helicopter’ geotagged to New York City:
In a minute, we had the livestream of the rescue search up on our site, while the AP was still reporting that there were ‘media reports’ of a crash.
Other examples from Ivan:
Live-tweeting absentee ballot count (close vote, very Florida 2000).
Crowdsourcing and curating local pics and videos of Hurricane Irene (on Storify, since you can search a hashtag but narrow by region and select only photos. Epic win).
Evan Brandt of The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa., shared this example:
I’m fairly new to Twitter, but we found an interesting way to use it recently.
We have a nuclear power plant in our coverage area and the NRC was holding two hearings on the same day regarding re-licensing the plant.
I attended the first in the afternoon and live tweeted using Nancy’s tablet (WAAAYYYYY easier than the netbook).
Came back to the office and we storified the tweets (I still say that’s a Harry Potter spell — :”Storify!”) and posted them on our web site prior to returning to cover the evening half of the hearing.
Update: Some links I mentioned in the workshop but did not include originally in this post:
- Andy Carvin’s Storify accounts of publicly questioning and seeking information about unconfirmed reports about munitions in Libya and “Gay Girl in Damascus.”
- The #wheretheyserved crowdsourced map we used at TBD.
- Dave Jamieson’s Storified account of a winter storm in Washington.
I would love to share more examples from you in the comments below.
Here are my slides for the workshop: