Train hell twittered into news

Post-train journey from hell last Thursday, a few wandering thoughts on how journalism is evolving.

Once I was near a computer, I twittered about the double booking of seats and the general chaos on the journey. Had I got round to setting up Twitter on my phone, it would have gone up even earlier, probably around the same time as I text my old colleague.

And that, there, is precisely why Twitter could be a great tool, for both regional and national journalists, especially if you’ve got a good mix of people in your network.

So, say I was scrabbling around for a story to fill the bank holiday weekend. Say I’ve got a friend on Twitter and got the feed I’d typed. Hey presto – a nice rail chaos story to tide over a quiet news weekend. Get a good network in your Twitter community and you never know what stories can land in your lap.

Interestingly, Joanna Geary’s Twitter feed today is largely concerned with just that. Earlier she posed the question:

“What would you say to a religious affairs writer who says there’s no point her joining Twitter “because my community is not on there”?”

before thanking her fellow Twitterers for all the suggestions and concluding:

“It’s more than a tool for tech heads.”

And think of what can be done the other end. Get your newsroom set up with a Twitter account and you can send out a Tweet about travel chaos, etc etc. It’s all very easy and as more people take to Twitter (and it looks as if it’s starting to move into the mainstream) you’ve got a great way to hook in a loyal audience and give them more reasons to visit their website or tune in.

And, while we’re here, a further reason why it’s a good idea to get your Technorati or RSS feeds delivered to your inbox, or get yourself a netvibes account: Kent Councillor John Ward’s resignation after a post appeared on his blog advocating sterilisation for parents on benefits.

As more councillors and MPs set up blogs, the greater the chance you’ll be able to get a good story out of their writings. And if that’s landing in your inbox before your competitors have even thought to check the councillor’s website, you’ve got a nice exclusive in front out you.

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