Twitter for Newsrooms #tweetsizedreportingmanual

Twitter has today released a new resource called Twitter for Newsrooms, which journalists can find and play around with here. According to the Twitter for Newsrooms site:

We want to make our tools easier to use so you can focus on your job: finding sources, verifying facts, publishing stories, promoting your work and yourself—and doing all of it faster and faster all the time.

#TfN, as it has been “hashtagged” down to, includes four sections which each detail ways that journalists can use Twitter for various parts of their jobs. There is #Report, #Engage, #Publish, and #Extra, which provides information on Twitter support, blogs, and other harder-to-characterize but useful aspects of the service.

A lot of it is self-explanatory for those in the media Twitterati, who spend their days flicking between a CSM, their e-mail inboxes, and their Twitter feed. For example, in the #Report section, ABC News’s Jake tapper chimes in to explain how he uses Twitter to report a story:

The way [Twitter has] been most useful is in terms of following people. I’ve been able to use it for reporting and to find sources. Last year when a health insurance company raised its premiums in California and it affected thousands of people, I didn’t know how to reach any of them, so I sent a Tweet out to my followers: “Is there anybody out there who is a customer of Anthem Blue cross who got their insurance premiums raised?”

@lemoneyes tweeted me that she had and so I followed her. I got her information through DM and then emailed her, we verified her situation and then we sent a camera crew to her. The next morning she was on ABC’s Good Morning America. There is no way I could have done that before.

The section titled #Engage details mostly self-evident paths to more “effective tweeting” (a whole generation of muckrakers probably just turned in their plots as I typed that line). It includes tips like responding to followers, sharing links, using hashtags, slapping up a nice background etc.

Still, while some of it seems obvious, it’s handy to have all of this in one place. And if you have a can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em attitude, and are just wading into this very strange Twitter-journo pond, there aren’t many better places to learn how swim.

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Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor. Tags: , , , , ,