As a former journalist, I am always interested in new developments in my former industry. I manage to stay in touch with the industry as a media relations practitioner who has been fortunate to have worked on a number of fairly high profile issues.
Recently I did some work for the Military Police Complaints Commission, which held a public hearing into the suicide of a soldier at CFB Edmonton. The hearing received a fair amount of national coverage, mostly driven by the work of Chris Cobb, a journalist with the Ottawa Citizen. Aside from his daily articles in the Citizen and on the newspaper’s website, Chris sent out a steady stream of tweets as various witnesses testified. It was almost like a live feed of the highlights of the hearings. His tweets helped drive traffic to the Citizen’s website and generated a number of leads on other stories that Chris was able to write about.
More and more journalists are tweeting directly from news conferences, accident scenes, inside Parliament or other places where news is gathered. But they are not all adept at using good judgement in choosing their content. Recently in Philadelphia, a Fox news employee thought she could ride the Breaking Bad finale buzz and promote some “hot” news on her program that evening with the following tweet:
Thought “Breaking Bad” was hot last Sunday? @FOX29philly See who’s breakin’ bad in SW Philly leavin’ 6 people SHOT – Tonite at Ten! (Joyce Evans (@JoyceEvansFox29) October 7, 2013)
Yikes! Needless to say she was pilloried because of her tasteless attempt at sensationalism. She compounded the problem when she tried to apologize:
Last tweet NOT AST ALL A JOKE. Very real life drama was the point as oppose to one that end on tv. That was my point.
Uh, no – I think her point was to try capitalize on a tragic mass shooting.