Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twitter rant

So, I was reading an article about Garry Trudeau and his twitter habit.

I encourage you to check out the entire article. Trudeau is the brains behind the Doonesbury comic strip. His twitter account is essentially a character from the comic strip as I understand it. Anyway, a media website interviewed him about using twitter.

For some reason the reporter asked Trudeau if he thinks "tvnewsers" are providing worthwhile tweets.

" None that I can find. Some reporters inoffensively tweet links to a broadcast, column or blog they've produced; they likely don't even do it themselves and they never respond to follower replies."

He goes on to say, "but in general the most baffling are the reporters who solicit their followers for questions before interviews. Please. You're supposed to be professionals. Do pilots and surgeons ask for suggestions? If you can't think of a few good questions, you and your producer are in the wrong business. It's not about getting fresh, out-of-the-bubble perspectives, as they would argue: most questions sent in are obvious or inane. It's really about flattering the followers, populist pandering."

This reporter is one of those "tvnewsers" that ask for questions. Frankly, it baffles me how a cartoonist is qualified to give expert opinions about our business. That aside, it's ludicrous for someone to be a part of social media that doesn't think interaction is important.

How often are we (news business) ridiculed for not being connected to our viewers and not understanding what they really want. So, when we ask for their input we are then criticized? In any profession, collaboration is typically the best way to find success.

I am the sole producer and host for my political show. I can read about a topic until I'm blue in the face but someone may have a great question that has actually lived through it. People are raised and educated in many different ways and can give different perspectives to different issues. One person cannot simply come up with all the perfect questions. Collaboration makes any project better. That doesn't make me unprofessional. It makes me thorough and it helps engage our viewers and encourages them to participate and watch. You don't think surgeons collaborate on finding better ways to operate and perform better? You don't think they use feedback from patients to do their jobs better? I think we know the answer to that question.

By disregarding viewer questions we are basically saying they aren't smart enough to ask smart, tough questions. That's ignorant and a big reason why viewers are not watching tv news, giving up newspaper/magazine subscriptions, etc. Too many people in the media think we are smarter than our viewers. In some cases we are, but in many cases we are not. We just have better access to the people who have the answers.

The bottom line is it's a way to interact with a new generation of viewers on a new and extremely popular platform. Even if it's not incredibly useful in a broad sense yet, it's definitely not harmful. This is new. Am I making mistakes and learning how to use this new tool? Absolutely. It's all a learning experience but at least I'm trying to learn, adapt, survive, and thrive in a changing world of journalism.

I don't know Mr. Trudeau and he's obviously a very successful man. I would like to know if he's ever received an idea for one of his cartoons from someone else that he's used in a comic strip. If he did, that sure would be unprofessional, wouldn't it?


  1. Great rant...and spot on!

  2. Well, read, perhaps, "What would Google do?" We won't get there tomorrow, but when we do, it'll be better.

    BTW, Doonesbury lost it's punch pretty soon after Nixon was not.

  3. A story your did today about the murder of pregant women should be a double homicide. Thanks for the story! My question; "would logic not prevail in Raleigh when for years a large sector of society deems is murder if a woman decides on abortion?" The discussion of it even is obserd. I fully believe if you murder a pregant woman nyuo have murdered two souls. If I in my position as a pilot had an incident and a pregnant woman is accidentally killed the law suit and law considers it two souls. Thank You for the opportunity to comment.

  4. anyone want to watch a little cat die? My cat is stuck in a apartment and I can't get her out because the management has the only key. I have tried to get her out the best I could. I can only watch her look at me through the window, crying and starving... 4216 Garrett road, durham nc ... someone needs a cam to record this murder of this sweet little kitty ...

  5. Can you believe that Channel 14 is so liberal that that they only reported what happened to the Congressmen who voted yes on the Health Care Bill? They did not report the bullet that went Eric Cantor's Republican campaign office. I have written off several other liberal twists, but I have just about had it with TV 14.

  6. For the protesters of off shore drilling: I would like to see all of them riding bikes or walking because the alternative is being dependent on foreign oil and what ever price they put on it, with higher prices for gas thta leads to higher prices for everything including groceries and everything else that is trucked in or flown in. Also, if they give up their gas driven cars, also anything else that has to have gas to run including flying to visit friends, family or vacations across the counrty or going by a gas powered boat to visit far off places. I doubt any of these protesters are willing to give up any of these things and will be the first ones to complain when cost of consumer goods go up because gas prices go up. Oil Companies have to do it safely and not cut corners like BP did in the Gulf because it was cheaper but riskier.
    BA Miller

  7. barack obama accused america's medical community,and doctors,of intentionally performing,medionallycal procedures,and surgeries;based on self seving greed;yet he personally worships,death,and mutilation camps,like;planned"deadbeat"parenthood;dr's of,genocide;and death panels like;dr.tiller and dr.kevorkian;pedophile,indoctrination camps;likethe n.e.a.,the dept of pedophile education;pedophile advocates like teachers unions; and the natl.organization,of"pedophile,deadbeat,and predatorial,women;"i wonder if colin powell,will ever be asked,or held responsible for advocating,and empowering,dr.barack insane"frankenstein obama;"to perform an unwanted unnesscessary,and illegal;"colin"oscopy;on the american people,as well;an economic,and liberty abortion; jimmy joe;"the liarfryar"