Twitter in the newsroom

Using Twitter as a resource can help keep a TV station on top of most local and breaking news. So says Patrick O’Brien, digital development director at WUSA-TV in Washington, DC, whom we introduced in an earlier post. O’Brien has helped to train his newsroom staff on how to use Twitter in gathering and disseminating news. Now, he’s sharing tips on his personal blog.

In addition to using CityTweets “for getting an ongoing live pulse of your city through the eyes of local tweeters,” O’Brien recommends TwitterLocal, a desktop application that lets you find posts from users within a specific geographic area:

For instance, if there’s a building collapse, you can search a 5-mile radius where the collapse took place to find anyone who may be twittering updates.

He also likes BreakingTweets, a Web site that groups Twitter posts based on world news events.  The site, which launched in January, was founded by a graduate student at DePaul University in Chicago.  “Nice little example of inventing something useful and aggregating content in a new way,” one news manager told me. “Why didn’t a newsroom think of this?”

Check O’Brien’s full list of Twitter tools for journalists, including Twilert and TweetBeep, services that will send you email updates when tweets are posted that include words or phrases you’re looking for. Sweet.


One Response

  1. As a disciple of Patrick’s WUSA way, I can report — he’s right on. For examples of how a WUSA “digital correspondent” (me) applies some of this day to day, you could check my recent blog post at: or

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