Tips for journalists using Twitter

Updated and expanded Twitter tips for journalists

Someday Twitter tips will seem as unnecessary for most journalists as notebook tips. But in the past few weeks, Steve Buttry notes, “I have encountered several journalists who were not using Twitter yet. A couple just within the last week asked my advice, so I decided to update my tips for journalists using Twitter, originally published in July 2009.”

Here is a sampling: 

Breaking news is probably where Twitter shows its greatest value again and again. When news breaks in your community, you can connect with sources and gather information in a variety of ways:

  • If you’re following lots of people in your community, you may see tweets from some eyewitnesses or some people feeling the impact.
  • You can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to search for keywords that might be likely to pop up in tweets about the breaking story, such as “flood,” “tornado” or “crash.”
  • You can use Twitter Search to find hashtag discussions already forming around the event, again trying different keywords. You can save searches for a keyword or a hashtag as a column in TweetDeck or HootSuite or as a saved search in your Twitter account (searches are a column on the Twitter home page).
  • If you jump on a breaking story quickly, try to promote a hashtag that others will pick up. If the hashtag catches on, you will see tweets from people you aren’t following. promotes #okstorm during bad weather.
  • As you find tweets indicating that people have first-hand experience with the story you are covering, reply to them (or direct-message them, if you follow them), asking them to call you directly for an interview.
  • Search also for photos posted on services such as Twitpic or Instagram. Ask people for permission to publish their photos
  • Use NearbyTweets or advanced Twitter search to see what people near the news site are tweeting.
  • Feed a hashtag or some feeds of people witnessing the news into your blog or story, using CoverItLive, ScribbleLive or a Twitter widget that feeds them in automatically or using Storify to curate the best tweets or to group tweets by topic or weave them into a story.
  • Embed individual tweets or a group of tweets into a story using QuoteURL or Blackbird Pie.


I Like “3 Creative Ways To Get Your Perfect Twitter Name”

Struggling with Twitter names and hashtags for one of my projects and came across this today.  I recommend it.

By Lauren Dugan at AllTwitter on June 20, 2011 11:15 AM

With well over 200 million accounts and growing by the day, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the perfect username on Twitter. But there’s nothing wrong with getting a little creative! Here are three ways you can grab your ideal Twitter name, even if the one you want has been taken.

5 Reasons Why Twitter is Not a Fad

Over at they are singing the praises of Twitter.  And, you need to pay attention to what they are saying:

Even in 2011, there are many people who are hesitant or skeptical regarding the use and benefits of Twitter. I shake my head and “sigh” at these folks. Twitter, although simple to begin using (such as tweeting, retweeting, hashtags, etc), is not so simple to finesse and engage with. It takes time and effort to get the art and science balance of Twitter and its benefits. But when used correctly, brands (whether personal or companies) can truly increase their marketing efforts. Thus, it is not an app that is going to go away anytime soon…face it folks, Twitter is still here and you should take the time to embrace it. And here’s why…

1. Customer Service: Like the idea of instant customer service in real-time? Who doesn’t?

2. Targeted element: Rather than reaching out to the mass media and just Tweeting to no-man’s-land…Twitter helps people target who they’re talking to.

3. Open vs. closed: Certain platforms are good for some things and others are better for other things. But the way Twitter is set up, it’s very easy for businesses to have a conversation with customers but still drive traffic to their site and take the conversation and activity elsewhere.

4. Building Relationships: Unlike those who just Tweet stuff about themselves, Twitter can be a great vehicle to build relationships with both potential and current consumers.

5. All the cool kids are doing it: When a social media tool goes beyond brands and trendy people using it, that’s when it causes a real stir.

Eds. Note: Read the entire post here. This is not my work and all credit goes to:

Study Reveals Good News About State of Local TV

Study Reveals Good News About State of Local TV  

By Andrew Gauthier in MediaBistro on March 16, 2011 5:39 PM

The Project For Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) has released a thorough report on how local TV performed in 2010 and, for a change, it’s filled with plenty of good news. Revenue was up, audience declines slowed (chart above), and, according to the report, local stations “remain Americans’ No.1 television news choice.”

Here are some key findings:

  • Audience: While local TV viewership has declined in the past several years, the audience numbers remained nearly flat in 2010.
  • Revenue: Local TV stations saw a 17% increase in ad revenue.
  • Retrans: The fees brought in from carriage agreements is projected to have topped $1 billion.
  • News programming: The average number of hours of local news programming that stations provide continues to increase.
  • Independent stations: News viewership for non-affiliate stations was up 35%.

[Full report here]

TV Still Wins the Hyper-local Customer: Study Shows

Jason Klein in AdAge reports that many players in the content business are building new websites to provide “hyperlocal”

Despite all the furious activity in hyperlocal media, heavy consumers of local news still turn to local TV news most often, according to a new Nielsen study commissioned by the Newspaper National Network. Local community news sites like Patch, and are gaining ground.

They’re already used weekly by 38% of “localists,” which the study defined as people regularly consuming content in at least four areas of local news: community events, community news, local government, local business, shopping, finance, sports and real estate.

But 91% of localists watch local TV news at least once a week, the study found, followed by print newspapers, which get at least weekly perusal by 80% of 1,000 localists surveyed; local radio stations, which get 79%; local newspaper websites at 61%; and local TV station websites at 59%. 

Read Complete article at

Internet chomps TV as No. 1 news source for young adults

By Helen A.S. Popkin Technotica columnist/technology and science editor

Continuing its consumption of old-timey media, the Internet became the No. 1 news source for young adults in 2010, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Television still reigns across age groups combined, with 65 percent overall citing the living room standby as their main source for current events, but the olds are increasingly turning to the Internet as well. In a national phone survey conducted Dec. 1-5, 41 percent of the 1,500 adult participants said they get their national and international news from the Internet, up 17 points since 2007. It’s a trend that’s likely to continue, Pew reports.

Continue reading “Internet chomps TV as No. 1 news source for young adults”

Do you really know me? 20 Tips to learn about your audience

October 21, 2010 by Pam Moore at Social Media Today
Social media provides the opportunity to connect with millions of people that we would normally not have access to. We have people following us from every walk of life, numerous countries and the list goes on.

What do we really know about our audiences? Have you taken the time to know them, understand them or connect with them.

Continue reading “Do you really know me? 20 Tips to learn about your audience”