By: Mike Brannen
Once upon a time, newsrooms focused on providing content solely for the medium it operated in. Today, news outlets, regardless of the medium, must all compete online…especially through social media networks. People are increasingly monitoring their social networks through advanced mobile phones, shortening the amount of time it takes them to access information and communicate.
News organizations hoping to build a loyal following must have an active presence on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The more information the news outlet sends, the greater the numbers of followers it can accumulate. However, delivering a steady stream of updates and new information presents a challenging dilemma.
I work as a morning TV producer, and our overnight crew will come across the occasional car crash or crime. We might be the only news outlet to know about it, and it might happen hours before we go on air. If we tweet the information we have, our audience (though probably asleep) will know what we know. Yet, now our competitors know about this breaking news, and have time to jump on the story and get it ready for air.
The advantage we would have had on air of being the only news team covering that story would be lost because we sent out a tweet. We no longer had the broadcast advantage.
This may be the sacrifice TV stations, and newsrooms, have to accept. The world now operates on a need-to-know now basis. People can’t wait for a newscast or for the paper to come out tomorrow. We have lost the ability to own a story on our own time.
Granted, there are exceptions, such as investigative pieces that aren’t under the gun to print or air ASAP. But for the most part, timely stories in our future will be told first through social media, then through older media forms.
Mike Brannen is a morning newscast producer for KIRO7, the CBS affiliate in Seattle. He recently received a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and completed his thesis, Motivational Use of Twitter. He previously worked multiple positions at KOMU-TV in Columbia, Missouri during the past four years.