How Twitter Improved my News Career

When it comes to writing a story or creating a package I love doing feature stories: covering an event or editing a personal profile, but my true love is hard news.

That quick paced, breaking news, who-gets-there-first-wins kind of news.

My first time getting a breaking news story when my advisor got the call of a gas main break on the other side of campus. I happened to be in the studio, and TwitterPraxgrabbed a camera, and with another crewmember, ran to the site to see the road had been closed down. We trotted along the sidewalk zooming in and nervously talking to the police officer that was monitoring the middle of the road. After a couple of hours the issue was fixed, and the traffic patterns went back to normal. It didn’t matter, though, because we had got the story up on the air.

For a fully staffed news station, capturing breaking news is seemingly effortless. There is a van ready to turn on the satellite signal and send the story back to the station. For students, however, it seems like an enormous task to be able to get good shots, reliable information, and the footage made available to the public before it’s already been heard of. This is where we become more resourceful and use what is at hand with still getting a reliable and non-biased voice.

Twitter has improved my news career. Almost seven years old, twitter has around 500 million users, and has become an international craze. Too keep updated with stories and what’s going on, I follow all the local news stations, some national stations such as NBC, and international such as Al Jeerza.

Not that I’m going to see them post something and run to the spot, but it keeps me on my toes. I can write a last minute reader for the news show. It also allows me to be a better “well rounded” reporter by understanding what is happening in my world-locally and on a global scale.

Currently I’m working on a piece about the conflict in Syria. This is a huge issue to try to categorize. Using resources such as Twitter and YouTube I’ve been able to formulate questions for specialists I’m going to interview. I can also get breaking news tweets, and know what to expect. This has helped me output a time line for both myself and for my editors on this specific story.

Many online news sources such as the Huffington Post use Twitter handles in their articles, and USA Today reporters ask questions for stories occasionally via twitter. It might be a great way to get a quote from an influential person that you can seem to get a hold of. Just make sure you mention in your broadcast or article where you got that tid-bit of info from.

If you like hard news as I do, I hope you look into using resources that you can get right onto your smart phone. Live blogs and streaming videos are great ways to fact check and make sure what you’re outputting is going to be correct and informational to your viewers.