When it comes to looking at which local news outlet utilizes Twitter the best, I believe that the reporters are the ones to look at. They make up the content that people are interested in, and can publish almost immediately. They can answer follower’s questions or comments much easier than the overall organization can.
Because of this, I feel the Wichita Eagle utilizes Twitter to its advantage better than any other local news. Their reporters are active on the social networking mechanism, and this platform allows them greater access to sources and immediacy of information publication. I’ve heard stories of Ron Sylvester tweeting up to date happenings in court cases from the courtroom.
If you think about it, Twitter is greater served for newspaper staff. Their information never had any fancy video or cool motion graphic presentation. By eliminating this presentation aspect, you now are stuck with the content. Newspaper staff have been typing away for years, so the transition is much easier. They know how to structure their stories for content, not presentation. In a way, Twitter saved the newspapers by equaling the playing field.
The other local news outlets do a subpar job, in my mind, promoting their reporters. I follow Cornish, Klose, and Schwanke, from KWCH and they only post about some of the top headlines for the upcoming newscast. I understand that television news wants you to come to their medium and watch their programming so they get more ad revenue, but I’m a fickle consumer and I want my news on my time. The better alternative would be to tweet your followers to come to your website. They would get the story from you and feel informed. The alternative is to tell people what is coming up on a medium they don’t care about and watch as other stations pick up your viewers and the ad revenue.
While on the topic of improper uses of Twitter, KAKEnews does a decent job at trying to detract viewers from their Twitter site. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much red and false sense of urgency. Broadcast news is often ridiculed for showing stories about how you and your family will die three times before the weather segment. KAKE does little to differentiate themselves with their page. It makes everything look like it’s so urgent.
We’ve learned much about interactivity this year. Kansasdotcom interacts with its viewers. Denise Neil is talking about 10/3/11 being national sandwich day. It’s not just a broadcast message. She wants to know who serves the best sandwiches in town. In other words, she’s asking her followers a question. KNSS could take a number from this. Look at their tweets. It’s a broadcast message with no interactivity at all. Maybe some more interaction would increase their viewership.
So where does KFDI fit in comparison to the Eagle? KFDI has a cool logo for their avatar space; the background is clean and well presented, unlike KAKE’s. The encourage interaction on the page. Posting 11/2/11 asking if anyone has done Christmas shopping yet. So if they’re on par with the Eagle, why do I not think they are good. Content, or the lack there of. Why would people want to go to KFDI’s twitter if they put anything up there? Viewers assume they won’t find anything on the story they are interested in. KFDI went a whole month posting only three tweets. In a content driven system like twitter, that is completely unacceptable.
KSN is a mix of KFDI and KNSS. KSN’s twitter page is not distracting and doesn’t appear as jarring as KAKE’s. They update their content often, but they don’t invoke interaction. They just broadcast a message about what is going on.
The Wichita Eagle uses Twitter better than any of the other local news organizations. They have a sufficient amount of content, nice background and avatar use on their page, and interact with their viewers. KAKE could take some lessons with their layout, KWCH anchors could do more than tell me what is coming up on the news block, KNSS could do more than broadcast a message out and avoid interaction, and KFDI needs to post more. None of the local news outlets are atrociously bad when it comes to Twitter efficiency, but many need small improvements. The Eagle reporters do a good job.
One thing I like about KSN’s webpage, is they encourage you to follow them on Twitter. The section is towards the bottom, and kind of hard to find, but no other news outlet specified space for this on their website. KSN is a little similar to KNSS in their lack of interaction, but at least they are devoting outside resources to bring people to their Twitter.