twitter for journalists

Reporting with Twitter

Twitter can be a great place to find breaking news. That ranges from the most global of issues (i.e. Middle East uprisings in Spring 2011) to more hyperlocal (such as structure fires on a particular block). TBD used Twitter and Foursquare in late 2010 to get eye-witness accounts of a hostage situation in Washington, D.C., and then began curating those tweets as part of the reporting process.

tweet from discovery hostage situation

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As a news startup in its infancy, TBD was widely praised for dominating coverage of the event.

Reporting Cautions

Using Twitter as a source for breaking news and/or leads must be done with caution. The January, 2011 shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a prime example of that.

In a rush to come out with stories first, several major publications ranging from NPR to CNN to The New York Times all began to rely on Twitter for reports on what occurred. Soon, two narratives emerged — one that stated the Congresswoman was dead, and another that stated she was wounded.

conflicting tweets of giffords shooting

Organizations spent the subsequent days issuing corrections after further reporting revealed the actual facts of the shooting.