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#TfN: Twitter for Newsrooms launches – is it useful?

Twitter for Newsrooms has launched a best practice guide for journalists. But do newsrooms need a guide? Is Twitter not preaching to the converted? Or as TechCrunch states, Twitter for Newsrooms!? Twitter is a newsroom, quoting Mediagazer founding editor Megan McCarthy.

Along the lines of Facebook for Journalists, Twitter for Newsrooms aims to help journalists by acting as a resource for research and reporting.

As Twitter’s announcement states:

We know you come from different generations. Some are native to the pilcrow, others native to the hashtag.

Mashable states:

The guide, titled “Twitter for Newsrooms,” is a little bit obvious for anyone who uses Twitter on a daily basis. There’s no new info here, just tips on how to report, engage with other users and followers and how to use tweets in the process of reporting. But the fact that Twitter has launched an official guide for journalists is indicative of the impact of social media on the news.

TechCrunch adds:

#TfN is Twitter’s official nudge to old school reporters, a heavy handed reminder to get with the program and embrace Twitter as media production and consumption device.

The 10,000 Words blog is a little more positive on its usefulness for all journalists:

While much of the information won’t ring fresh for reporters already knee-deep in social media sourcing, it’s a comprehensive and helpful resource for journalists of all levels hoping to gain some insight into Twitter’s potential for journalists.

So what does Twitter for Newsrooms involve?

There are four areas: #Report, #Engage, #Publish and #Extra.

As Mary Hamilton says on her blog:

This is basic stuff – tools, examples, glossary, links, support. That’s as it should be, I reckon. The newsroom denizens who understand Twitter well enough to build their own techniques are still vastly in the minority. This is about bridging a gap.

#Report gives advice to journalists on when and how to use the following four tools, plus advice on finding sources, and mobile tips.

  1. Twitter Search
  2. Advanced Twitter Search
  3. TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac
  4. Archive Search

On the subject of the advanced Twitter search, Hamilton writes:

I’m glad Twitter is making more of its advanced search tools. They’re immensely useful for journalists, but unless you already know about them they’re next to impossible to use. Including them here, prominently, is smart. And it’s wise to explain there’s a difference between Top and All tweets, even if it’s still not clear what “most relevant” means in this context.

#Englage has advice on effective tweeting, with good examples;

#Publish explains how to follow, retweet, favourite and reply, and how to use BlackBird pie, which displays tweets in WordPress;

#Extra, as you might have guessed, includes all the other facts a Twitter beginner may need to know (though can probably be worked out simply watching a stream and trying it out).

Another point well made by Hamilton is:

Twitter is protecting/building its brand. Some of these guidelines are about making sure the platform gets credit for quotes and information shared there. Others offer ways to embed Twitter functionality on news sites. It reminds me of Facebook’s Open Graph plugins, in a nascent and very specific way – proliferating its own platform while performing useful functions. Aiming to become needed, where it isn’t already.

Do you think Twitter for Newsrooms is needed and a valuable resource? Have you found Facebook for Journalists useful? Let us know in the comments section below.

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