Facebook and Twitter: A Producer/Reporter’s BFF
Social media encompasses so many platforms. If used right, it could be your best friend. In news, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter always help you find the LATEST information from a human perspective, minutes and even hours before any newscast broadcasts a story.
I’ll give you an easy example – the Japanese earthquake. It took the Caltech Seismological Laboratory about 10 minutes before they received the earthquake alert. People in Japan had already posted about the tragic incident on their Facebook statuses and Twitter accounts. Twitter and Facebook are still being used to provide information on aftershocks and the plethora of problems that the earthquake/tsunami is causing.
As reporter, these outlets can help you find interviews with people who can closely relate to your story. For instance, when I was covering the U.S. evacuation alerts in Egypt, (http://bit.ly/e9KS2s) I really wanted to find an Egyptian student at USC who could speak on behalf of their family in Egypt and whether the evacuations made them more worried, etc. Through the use of Facebook, I found two willing students with families in Egypt who lost almost all contact with them due to severed communication. These were great interviews because they brought a strong connection with the viewers by localizing the plight of the Egyptian people.
As a producer Tweeting and Facebooking stories helps spread news. Facebook and Twitter provide curious viewers with another avenue to gain access to stories.
There are many social media outlets available; knowing how to use these tools only makes you more agile in an industry that strives for accuracy and up-to-date news for viewers.