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More Twitter Stuff

July 28, 2009

A former colleague of mine came across my blog post about Newspaper’s being poorly marketed, and he quoted me in an article about how Twitter isn’t really a good substitute for the news.

I can see the newspaper’s POV. But, here’s my problem. Twitter is the teaser.

They used a story about a car accident. A newspaper editor was in his office being bombarded because his small town paper hadn’t posted anything online about the accident. People wanted to know what happened.

Well, I’m going to solve this problem. Here’s what newspapers should do. A good newspaper’s twitter should never stop running. The LA Times “Breaking News” Twitter has two posts today. Really? In LA, only two things happened? That really makes me want to buy tomorrow’s paper. Front Page: “No News Today, check back soon…”

So, in the case of the car accident, obviously someone was called to report on this story almost as soon as it started happening. So you post on your breaking news twitter. “Car accident at Maple and Vine. Gathering details. full coverage tonight.”

Then, when the story is completed, you post again: Full coverage of the accident online.

Now, not every story is newsworthy, but every paper got too specialized. They stopped reporting news. Only now, they should be better positioned than anyone else to get to these stories. It’s not hard to post 150 words of coverage on the website as a teaser. Then, you spend the rest of the evening going more in-depth than the TV station could have. If it’s important, people will want to see analysis.

But, newspapers at some point decided they needed to compete on immediacy. Not possible. They can provide more depth on more stories. They just haven’t embraced the web to see what their consumers want.

Maybe someday, the “Breaking News” Twitter will actually break some news. Because to be honest, I and most others are going to ignore Baghdad bank heist kills 8. (The LA Times actually has this as their only breaking news for yesterday. Real pertinent to your customers in LA).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. justinlafferty permalink
    July 28, 2009 9:11 pm

    Thanks for checking my blog out, too. With the LA Times, it is kind of hard, mainly because of the sheer size of the city, to throw up a quick post every time someone gets in an accident. We (the Tracy Press) use Twitter basically the way you described. If we have enough for a quick blurb, we post it online and then update it when we’ve got a full story.

  2. Devin permalink*
    July 28, 2009 9:43 pm

    sure, but the LA times has more manpower. Theoretically, they should be able to effectively do this for almost any story that a significant sample of LA cares about. Obviously, that’s going to be different than what Tracy does, but it’s still not 8 die in Baghdad…

    Small papers are going to emerge in better shape after all this, assuming they can survive.

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