In true broadcast media form, Brian Bolter answered my Media Profile questions with a video. Bolter is the anchor of The Edge for WTTG Fox 5 in the Washington D.C. area.
As a former resident of Washington D.C., I follow a lot of people from the area on Twitter. Brian's reporting using Twitter. Brian's real-time incorporation of tweets into his newscast caught my attention a few months ago. He was on my short list to interview as I started this series.
My purpose for these interviews are twofold;
1) to take a look at how traditional media outlets are using social media tools to enhance their reporting and to investigate the idea that these new tools and work flows will revolutionize journalism]
2) to get tips for communicators interacting with journalists in these forums and formulate best practices.
Some highlights from Brian's interview:
Using Social Media in Broadcast Journalism
- With time lacking, use social media as a way to get out in the public and get to know your viewers, make "appearances"
- Twitter is the real-time web and allows for instant feedback from viewers, get a quick read on sentiment or opinion about a story
- Use Twitter for crowd sourcing and eyewitness accounts, but back those up with reporting to independently verify events
- Used for news gathering such as crime in progress, weather events, and story ideas
- Brian goes for a very genuine feel to his news reporting on air and in social networks. The station doesn't just feed out news on the Twitter channel, they also respond
Best Practices for Working with Broadcast Journalists Online
- The "faces" of the news are often not the right person to pitch, Brian prefers to talk with "real people"
- Brian says that the people who take pitched at the station are still old school and still pick up the phone (see contact info below)
- Don't pitch journalists on their personal Twitter and Facebook pages, but in the case of Brian, feel free to interact
- Be a real person, be genuine, share versus pitching. Engage in genuine interaction
- Do not send auto direct messages from Twitter
- Do not come on too strong or expect coverage
That said, please do take the time to watch the video, there are some nuances that I didn't catch in the write up and what Brian says is very interesting. He posted his video on his Vimeo site, where he has a series of Me Right Now videos that give a flavor for how authentic Brian really is. He understands that his personal and professional life intersect as a public persona and he lets his fans in the door. He has really blended social and traditional media to create a news hybrid that is more weighty and personal.
Contacting Brian and Fox5: