The Times-News is all a-Twitter
In a simpler time, a reporter used his God-given inquiry skills, patience and shoe leather, to get the story and get it written and published. On a breaking story, they might call the bulletin into the copy desk, like Clark Gable in “It Happened One Night” and scores of other newspaper movies.
Fast forward to the early 21st century, and waiting to get the story up on the paper’s website is now not soon enough. We can get the gist of the reporter’s beat in 140 characters through Twitter.
Recently, the Erie Times-News encouraged it’s rank and file reporters to begin using Twitter to build another connection to readers and get the story out faster. On Sunday, Managing Editor Pat Howard pointed out how Twitter was changing the routine for the paper’s news hounds:
It’s hard to grasp how Twitter flows until you’ve immersed yourself in it, but under the right circumstances words and images can spread far and fast. Erie Times-News reporter Erica Erwin and photographer Greg Wohlford got a taste of that at the end of the week when Erwin linked to their story about Samantha, the aged, lonely gorilla at the Erie Zoo whose new buddy is a bunny rabbit.
Last I heard (from Erwin on Twitter), it had reached an audience in at least 10 countries as people amused or touched by it passed it along. Last I saw the story, it came back to me on Twitter from Slate Magazine, which passed along a Washington Post item that carried an Associated Press version that cited and included a link to the original Erie Times-News/GoErie.com report.
Got it? That gorilla gets around.
Of course, the paper’s reporters were not the first and are not the only local news gatherers on Twitter. However, they are now among the most prolific. Here’s a partial list:
- Kevin Flowers (early adopter): @ETNFlowers
- Pat Howard: @ETNhoward
- Gerry Weiss: @ETNweiss
- John Guerriero: @ETNguerriero
- Lisa Thompson: @ETNthompson
- Jim Martin: @ETNmartin
- Doug Oathout: @ETNoathout
- Erica Erwin: @ETNerwin
- Catherine Cloutier: @ETNcloutier
- If you are a news junkie and are not on Twitter, you are really missing the boat. Twitter is the new “ticker,” a source for real-time breaking news and instant multiple perspectives. Sometimes that goes south, as in the early inaccurate stories of Joe Paterno’s death, but the news market quickly corrects itself.
- One of the best uses of Twitter by a local reporter I’ve seen is former WJET anchor and now KDKA reporter Trina Orlando. When she tweets from location it feels like we have a “live eye” right there on the scene.
- I’d like to see more tweeting with running scores from sports events. Duane Rankin does a great job of this for the Bayhawks games, but last weekend I was hard pressed to find the Gannon women’s score, and I was doing the only Boro women’s score tweets! Room for growth.
- I’ve started a comprehensive list of local Erie news reporters on Twitter to make it easier to follow everyone who is tweeting: http://twitter.com/pressandtower/erie-news-media
C U amongst the #hashtags!