Skip to content

Class Notes: Journalists on Twitter – Brian M. Westbrook & Linda Thomas

28 July 2009

Notes on Class Speakers – July 28th, 2009


  • Social Media guy for Sandusky Radio
  • Radio shows on Twitter span a wide range. Good example: @TheSquare , which brings its Twitter to the News broadcast, like CNN does it now.
  • You can’t force people into using Social Media. You get the most useful information when people are actually motivated and interested.
  • Spent a lot of time to create and manage his brand.

Linda Thomas @thenewschick

  • Did not know what to do with Twitter at first, then approached it as a broadcaster
  • “On Twitter it is not about who you are, but about what you have to say”; then I just changed to communicating
  • you don’t own your brand like a news anchor doesn’t own credibility. All you own is your name, and you can build credibility, but you can lose it just as fast. You can control it to some extent with what you are tweeting, but you can’t control the outcome


Q: You don’t own your brand, but that is what most companies are trying to shape!

B: Two different strategies for brands. TV Stations: One-way barking at people VS conversations that involve the audience and that could eventually turn into a story

L: One thing I hate about Broadcasting on Twitter – the teasing. It doesn’t work. “If you want to tell me why, tell me now!”

B: And if you want a nice insight, go back in time. Look at tweets from March or April and see how they changed from now. They are starting to get better, because they started to listen and learn.

L: One very great broadcaster on Twitter is King5, it is very personal, grassroots, bottom up.

King5Seattle: Broadcasters like to talk AT people, not with people. But now, through Twitter, we get involved with our audience!

Q: (Rubi): Worry about Spanish version of broadcasting channel

L: Every channel has to be authentic. When you are on Twitter, you need to be who you are and be authentic to the community that you want to reach out

Q: ….?

L: News Organizations have always been top-bottom, telling its employers what to do. Twitter has reversed this relation.

King5Seattle: we need to become personal

Q: Reporters using Twitter more likely to cover a story that has info more readily available from an Org. on Twitter

King5Seattle: yes, if I find good PressReleases on Twitter, I will go to my editor and say we should look this up

L: And Journalists always look to find new ideas. If you can start a conversation with a journalist on Twitter, it is great.

B: But, you should also make sure that once you don’t have their attention, you don’t nag them about everyting! Learn their beat and don’t spam them.

King5Seattle: It also gives you (as a journalist) a tool to give Kudos to local people who help you. It gives you back the local community.

Kegill: And this is how Journalists will stay alive. Journalism is going back to local relations, because people who don’t care

Q: @King5Seattle has only 3% of @replies – how is this interactive communication

King5Seattle: Most questions are very specific and will be replied to via DM. Only some things that are generally relevant and interacting with the community will go out in the general stream.

Q: Does Twitter change the way of PR comm?

L: I get a lot more pitches, some of them worthwhile, some not.

Q: About Development: Do you see Twitter being a permanent thing of jsut a fad?

L: You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube. If Twitter goes away, something else will come that might be even more interactive. Twitter is a very easy and welcoming, friendly space. Will have a longer shelf live than Blogging.

Q: Hyperlocal vs. large national outlets – future cooperation?

L: They are supporting each other more (aggregating) –> working together and crediting each other. Staffs have shrunk a lot

Q: How do you measure and evaluate your own Twitter stream?

L: Just an extension as to what I want to communicate. If it passes my “ha, that’s interesting” – then I’ll tweet it! It is really just authentic. Occasionally I will do a more personal tweet, but I don’t talk about my family or my kds

B: I really don’t care about followers, but I care about relevance and I almost want to send all my followers a survey: Am I adding relevancy?

Q: Lots of news channels use Twitter just for headlines

L: I don’t think this is worth the time, because it doesn’t get enough traffic. Then make it automated and don’t try to be personal

B: one can be personal, one can be automated. But don’t change your mind mid-way. It depends on the objective, the staff etc. There is no general rule

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: