I often find myself doubting the relevancy of television news. Does anyone (besides my parents) still get their information from that outdated medium? All of the breaking news I hear about comes to me via Twitter. It's where I learned about the Hudson crash landing, Michael Jackson's death, and of course, all of Apple's product announcements.
Everyone knows that newspapers are in dire need of revamping in order to keep up with social media trends but I wonder also about the television news. In this time of on-demand, real-time news updates, how does a television station keep their viewers informed?
There are two promising things I've seen that seem to point towards a future of old media and new media working together in tandem. The first comes out of Denver and is the amazing story of Misty Montano. I had heard her name around town and knew she worked for a local television station, but had no idea she was such a trailblazer.
At the most recent Chicks Who Click conference held in downtown Denver, Misty gave a presentation entitled Going Rogue. Her preso was not referring to Sarah Palin (fortunately) but was referring to the fact that Misty jumped on Twitter and started engaging with CBS viewers BEFORE she had actually gotten the permission of her boss to do so. Talk about ballsy.
What she's accomplished (besides proving the value of social media to everyone in her department) is that she's been able to talk to the people who watch her newscast. She gets tips from viewers, shares teasers from upcoming stories and can alert folks to local breaking news that she's picking up on the police scanner. And when she needs help putting together a story, she has thousands of folks following her on Twitter that are willing and ready to help.
Another interesting social media story comes out of San Francisco. There's a consumer reporter there, Michael Finney, who is blogging. Not because his station is making him, but because it helps his viewers get even more information about the stories he's covering. In addition to his blog, Michael is on Twitter and even goes the extra mile to help his readers understand RSS and provide them with special deals that they might not otherwise know about.
Not to mention, he recently signed up for and installed Lijit on his blog. Which just goes to show that not only in Michael proving himself even more valuable to his station through increased engagement with viewers, he's also on the cutting edge of blog technology. ;)
Hopefully, Misty and Michael won't remain in the minority of news folks incorporating social media into the way they do business. It would be a shame to see television news go the way of the dodo.