I have long been an advocate for Twitter and other social media outlets, but since I began anchoring and producing full time in August of 2009, I found it challenging to stay connected to the community, especially when I wasn’t out in the field everyday.
To make sure I don’t get too comfortable behind the desk, I try to shoot one story about every week on my own time.
The standard story ideas are a dime a dozen, follow-ups on crime, localizing national stories, etc. But the stories that I enjoy most are the ones that I get from people in the community. “Feel good” stories. For these ideas, I find that Twitter has been a great avenue.
While I produce my shows, I constantly keep my Twitter feed on my desktop and updating. On one particular day, in the midst of producing, I saw a Tweet by a former journalist, turned public relations person for a local hospital. The Tweet said:
“Just found out our hospital had 5 sets of twins born in the past 48 hours. Crazy!”
I immediately jumped on it. What a great “feel good” story!
I replied: “@FredrkMemorial Is this a story idea? Let me know.”
Within 2 minutes, @FredrkMemorial got back to me. After I anchored the noon show, I headed out on my “lunch break” to shoot the story. The hospital was great, setting up all the mothers and their twins for the story.
Upon my arrival to the hospital, the PR team for the hospital approached me about our Tweets. We all talked about how great of a tool it was to spread the news. But it wasn’t just my station that picked up on the idea. We are a small-market station, based right outside Washington, D.C. So the D.C. stations often head to our territory to pick up fun stories. The 10 babies in two days stories was no exception. Three other stations were there, all who found the idea on Twitter.
I got back to the station in time to produce and anchor the 5 p.m. show, and thanks to some help we got the twins story on the 5 p.m. show, too. The story turned out great. We got lots of good feedback from viewers! Not to mention, my story aired in about five other markets across the nation throughout the week.
About a week later, an article in the local newspaper, the Frederick News Post, was sent to me. The Post covered the story of the twins, but also took another angle: How social media brought this story to life. The article cited me as the first to respond to the Tweet, followed by numerous other media outlets.
Thanks to a Tweet by a former journalist, who realized the importance of reaching out to the community, a great story was told. Not only that, it proved to me that Twitter is a fantastic way for me to maintain my connection with the community, even behind the anchor desk.
To watch the video of the story, click here.
Nikki Burdine is the anchor and producer for the noon and 5 p.m. show at WHAG-NBC25 in Hagerstown, Maryland. Nikki is a southern belle, hailing from East Tennessee, who has a passion (and self-proclaimed obsession) for the news and social media. She is writing a bi-weekly blog for RTDNA. Follow her on Twitter: @NikkiBurdine