Television news stations have had to change their approach to distribution of the news, CHEX TV shares their Social Media story, article, by Steve Guthrie!
Like all television stations in North America, CHEX TV has a website (CHEXTV.com) which was set up to promote its broadcast schedule. Later, the daily newscasts at 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 pm were recorded and uploaded to the website. A technological change a few years ago meant we could no longer post the entire newscast. Instead, we posted individual news stories in various categories on the website. About a year ago, I put forward the idea that CHEX should have both Twitter and Facebook accounts as the value of such social media platforms to local news was becoming obvious. For example, many people will send Twitter messages about upcoming events or even spot news they come across like fires or car accidents. This gives a news outlet a leg up on what may be happening in our community. From a professional standpoint, these messages are a starting point. Just because someone tweets about a ‘big car crash’ doesn't mean we will automatically broadcast it or ReTweet it. We will, however, send a videographer to check it out. If it turns into something, as well as shooting video of the scene and interviewing bystanders and officials, the videographer will Tweet it.
@CHEXNewswatch is the main Twitter handle but most videographers have their own. By including @CHEXNewswatch to their tweet, of course, it goes to the 3000 people who follow us. Social Media Consultant Sofie Andreou advised us to include a link back to the story on CHEXTV.com whenever possible in our Tweets. This drives traffic to our website, which is attractive to advertisers but also allows the online editor or videographer to write a story on the website that is more detailed than a 140-character Tweet allows. So for example, our first Tweet may say ‘House fire on Bethune Street, Newswatch has a crew on the way’. Subsequent Tweets from the videographer in the field may be along the lines of ‘Firefighters entering fully involved home on Bethune Street’. While this is going on, the online editor back at the station is writing copy for the website about the fire for those who have gone to CHEXTV.com for the story. Once that copy is written, the editor can now send a Twitter message, including the link to the story on the website. He will also create a hashtag for the incident, like #Bethunefire. As soon as the videographer returns with video of the fire on Bethune Street, the online editor puts some up on the website and Tweets that.
A new wrinkle that is rapidly growing in popularity due to Smartphones is the attachment of photos or video to individual Tweets. This is a very positive step, especially when spot news is concerned. However, we are still working out the technicalities of videographers using personal air time on their phones to supply material to the company.
When we have an exclusive, we will often Tweet a tease, rather than reveal the entire story. The local news business is very competitive and there is no point in letting the cat out of the bag with a Tweet you didn’t think through.
Facebook is a different story. Our software allows us to automatically send a link to Facebook and Twitter whenever a story is posted to CHEXTV.com. We have 600 people who like out Facebook page but we have not explored all the possibilities Facebook has to offer. One thing that has happened is our Facebook page has become a sort of clearing house for local news, which other radio and print agencies all post to.
Steve Gurhrie, Online Editor ChexTV