Introducing new ideas… without sounding crazy

I am one of the younger faculty members at the Missouri School of Journalism. I’m also a bit energetic.

Okay. I have a lot of energy.

So when I present the faculty with a new idea or a great concept… Some of them tune me out because they assume they won’t understand what the heck I’m talking about. I get excited about new ways journalists can share information. I get really excited when journalists are only a piece of the news gathering process. I get super excited when life is simplified with the help of technology.

So after enough professors and students asked… I’m putting together a presentation on how journalists can use Twitter next Monday. I’d love to hear the ways you use Twitter so my presentation isn’t JUST my ideas. There are so many different ways, it would be wonderful to get input from places beyond my world so I can prove that I’m not the only person who thinks Twitter is a helpful tool. So please leave comments here or on Twitter or even on my Facebook page if we’re friends. I would love links and stories about successes and failures when it came down to journalists using Twitter. Thanks!!


  1. Rob Weir

    Well, there’s the scanner thing. But you already knew about that.

    Let’s see: I use it to keep up with friends and update them myself. I follow news about events (like #tf09). I follow organizations in town (like @toptenwines) and learn about things like their Wednesday wine club. I follow sports news, and I like to follow ongoing hashtag discussions.

    As a journalist … well, I’m not really in a newsroom any more, but I like to keep up with the news. The Missourian used it for this ( which I thought was useful as an example of the scanner function. If I could dictate how people use it, I’d say it’s a good replacement for text messaging on the push side.

    Oh, and from an educational perspective: Great way to teach people how to write concisely.

  2. Donald McIlraith


    I work for the Univ of California Press and follow you on Twitter. My interest in this topic comes from UCP’s desire to be surfing down the front of the wave, not watching the competition on ESPN a day later.

    I have noticed some things…

    1) A large number of Tweeters have Twitteria. There is a reason for the small number of characters per Tweet- say something smart!

    2) What has drawn me to follow a link is a fleshing out of the Tweet.

    3) I confess that following a link to a Twit Pic is hard for me to resist, so make it relevant to your Tweet and make it good! I won’t go there again by a bad Twit Pic’er.

    4) Wikipedia is not a good source for vetting! (Conor Clarke this morning in the Atlantic blog. Unbelievable…)

    Anyway, that’s what comes to my mind.


  3. Starting next week it is now manditory for all anchors, photographers, assignment editors, reporters and producers to have a station twitter account. How you use it is completly up to you.
    As a producer, I’ve grown a large enough following I can use my account like a scanner – getting multiple story tips a day. During the afternoon I’ll try to start a dialoge with viewers about a story I’m putting in the 11pm news. Later in the day I tend to start teasing stories I am putting in my newscast.

    During the 11pm newscast, the anchors and producer in the booth have twitter up. We’ll answer questions about stoires during the break and talk abotu what is still to come. This tends to get the biggest reaction and we have a number of people who follow along while watching.

    Hope that helps! I’ve been loving twitter and continue to look for more ways to use it on the job.

  4. So you’re saying your station isn’t forcing anyone to use Twitter – but they’re expected to have an account? Has there been any training about Twitter to the newsroom? I’m curious to see how many newsrooms are using twitter with a bit of force but without any training. I’m curious about your twitter teases – do viewers appreciate the teases or do they feel spammed?

  5. Another Twitter tip:
    jenayres@jenleereeves I use it to keep track of headlines, and I’m praising it… in the newsroom, the MPD is now using it. Seriously I’m obssessed. (She’s talking about Madison Police Department)

  6. Our web department has been using it for a while and is doing one on one training. there is no requirement about how oftern you have to post or anything like that. I try to keep the teases real casual. I think the key is keeping a normal dialoge during the day so the teases don’t feel like spam later.

  7. I’ve taken twitter’s java feed and put in on my station’s home page and called it a THIS JUST IN box..

    any piece of information comes into the newsroom (scanner, press release, wire, AP bulletin, etc.) I tweet it.. the time stamp makes it look like we’re constantly posting new information to the site.. it’s a quick way to get a story on our site while we write up something more.

  8. The NBC station in our market also started an entire show devoted to twitter comments and you tube video.
    It airs between the 5 and 6 pm newscasts and is live in the newsroom. So far it has been a disaster both in execution and the ratings but there are a few good ideas in it.

  9. Hi Jen,

    For the trade press, trade shows get a lot of Twitter action. The last show I attended even had a Tweet-Up (meet-up). Journos, bloggers, PR people, buyers, retailers — anyone twittering about the show, the products, the companies — was invited. (Unfortunately I was still new to Twitter at that point and didn’t hear about it until after the fact…) Following what the Tweeters had to say about the show helped clue me in to new companies I might be missing out on, new products I didn’t get to try, and other random show gossip that while not always directly useful, was usually pretty entertaining.

    Associating myself with those Twitter people also offered a lot of insightful feedback post-show on marketing, product and other trends, since many of them linked to their own blog posts.

    Good luck with your presentation!

  10. Kristen Orsborn

    Hey Jen,

    I get so excited talking about Twitter! I use it in every aspect of my work. Obviously, there’s the scanner thing… but It’s been so helpful in keeping an ear to the ground for stories elsewhere in the state (I work in Texas) that otherwise would be much more tedious to track down. For example, there are people who almost exclusively tweet about the Texas legislature and what bills are being introduced. That’s just one case. It goes on and on.

    I’m most interested in how it helps me develop a dialogue with my viewers. I can passively monitor their tweets and get a sense of what they’re talking about… but I can even ASK them what they’d like to see on my show that night… what they think of our product… and answer their questions about our what’s going on in our newsroom.

    I’m trying to get the whole newsroom on board, but it’s been tough. A few people are enthusiastic and curious, but many of them just see it as an extension of Facebook’s status feed.

    The more time I spend digging on Twitter, the more mind-boggling things I find. It sucks me in!

  11. It’s wonderful to hear from all of you! Are there any Twitter tools you like to use? I love my iPhone Tweetie, Twhirl on my computer and Tweetdeck.

  12. Hey Jen,
    I would recommend this post by Jason Falls called “How Journalists Can Leverage Social Media”. I found it pretty interesting, informative, and thoughtful.

    Also, when is this presentation? I’d like to attend if I have the time.

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