News: how to use social media updates

Today whilst looking through my Facebook page I noticed two news organisations had posted a status update about finding the crashed plane that went missing on the Sunshine Coast on Monday.The posts both said the plane had been found but their information was different. View map of the area where the plan crashed. (Brisbane Times reported it was 4km northwest of Borumba Dam). 


(Click picture to see bigger size)

These comments were posted at the same time. Just like Susan Herthington’s example on the QUT Online Journalism blackboard site, people just want the raw facts. Susan says

“When composing tweets remember the aim is to entice your audience and inform them not annoy them. Tell them what’s happened, not just that something had happened. Not that the government has released a report. What did the report say? Not that a basketball match has been played. Who won?”

The radio station HOT 91 told us the people who were onboard the plane had died. Channel 9 News failed to tell us whether they were alive or not, which is the main question people want answered. Instead Channel 9 added a link to another story wanting to coerce viewers to open up their other stories.

If news organisations are going to utilise social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter they need to give the audience the details they want or they’ll go elsewhere to source the information. It is ineffective to say they found the plane’s crash site without adding more information.

Journalists need to realise this when they’re covering live events. People don’t want to know that the Premier is speaking outside Parliament today, they want to know what he is saying. People want dot point facts that tell us not just what but how, why, when and where.

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