“We know Twitter is a tool all journalists can use to find sources faster, tell stories better, and build a bigger audience for their work.” So says the home page of the new Twitter for Newsrooms (#TfN) website.
Of course, many people already know this having watched Twitter take a key communications role in ways traditional news media never could. Stories of catastrophes in Japan and Haiti, political uprisings in Egypt, news about celebrity deaths (e.g., Michael Jackson), and shocking jury verdicts in high-profile criminal cases (e.g., Casey Anthony) broke or spread at lightning speed via Twitter over the past few years. Journalists who aren’t already using Twitter are already way behind.
However, Twitter has its drawbacks, and they are not to be trivialized. It seems like there is new fake tweet drama weekly with one of the most recent claiming President Obama had been assassinated. In other words, there is a lot of clutter, a lot of opinion, and a lot of untruths that users have to weed through in order to find the best content.
Authority matters more than ever when you’re using a tool like Twitter for journalistic purposes. In an article on TechCrunch last week, Alexia Tsotsis quoted Bill Johnson, Village Voice Media’s Head of Digital, about this exact thing. Johnson said:
“Twitter is a newsroom of sorts, though there is no editor. So it all depends on the credibility of the person who tweets the news. If Jeff Jarvis tweets something, I tend to believe it, factually. If someone random tweets it, even 100 random people I do not know, I am going to have to look at other sources to check it out and see if it is real.”
Johnson’s point is exactly why Authoritative Content publishers, like the online publishers (including Twitter users) who syndicate their content through Newstex, are so important. This is the type of audience that journalists need to connect with, and Twitter for Newsrooms gives them one more way to do it.
What do you think of Twitter for Newsrooms? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.