Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Le Tweet, c'est chic: Jump in with Aggie Journalists

If you're one of the proud few mainstream journalists already using Twitter, you can now get this blog's headlines that way too; if (like me) you've been seeking a reason to sign up and mess with it to see how it works, come dip a toe in our Twitter wading pool!

This effort is inspired by Howard Owens' challenge to journalists to get wired as well as several comments on this blog post at CNET News about using Twitter for journalism:
...Twitter is both the perfect journalist tool for being first with breaking news, and the best relief from the tyranny of breaking news. There is no way to faster publish the most important fact of a breaking news. 140 chars is not much, but enough.

...The immediacy of Twitter is compelling; however, the inanity of most posts is a major turn-off. Hence our goal to create a focused group of people with common interests. As Twitter has no built in groups function, you can "follow" who you wish and you can vote with your mouse.

...If you aren't using it effectively (e.g. don't follow everyone, just a group that informs your work) then you don't get twitter.

And some from a now-expired thread at Wired Journalists:
...I have picked up on many stories using Twitter before they've gotten to the MSM and in a couple situations -- gas explosions downtown, traffic, and fires -- this has given me a jump start on calling LAPD to confirm and post a news brief before most major print/radio/tv/online outlets do. We also follow the LAFD Twitter, which is one of many ways that they disseminate their breaking alerts to the public in concert with the media.
The most exciting Twitter phenomenon for me occurred a few months back when the Bay Area was hit with a moderate Earthquake. I must have read 50 Tweets about it before it even hit the AP.

...I think there are many potential uses for Twitter by journalists that go beyond using it to push an RSS feed. Reporter could use it to cover meetings or as part of their paper's traffic coverage. One of the issues that I've encountered in discussing Twitter with journalists is that all too often they're quick to dismiss it without even trying it.


Los Angeles Fire Department said...

Dear Aggies,

We appreciate your sharing the post that included kind mention of the LAFD on Twitter!

Aggie Journalists who are working in or covering news in Southern California are encouraged to get leads for breaking Los Angeles Fire Department news via our LAFD_ALERT system or Twitter, and to follow our after-action reports and information at the LAFD News & Information blog.

With your partnership, we look forward to helping people in Los Angeles and beyond lead safer, healthier and more productive lives.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

LAFD News Blog: lafd.org/blog