For clues to how newspapers are evolving, it helps to pay attention to the most innovative papers. The Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas, has long been regarded as a strong local paper that excells at covering its local tech industry and seeks innovative approaches to interact with readers.
One of the paper’s editors recent spoke about how the Statesman uses Twitter to encourage dialogue with its community.
Robert Quigley, Internet Editor for the Statesman, is referred to as the paper’s “Twitter wizard” in this report of his presentation to journalism students.
Quigley created an @Statesman Twitter account and used it to create a conversation with readers, “both linking to stories and talking back and forth with readers.”
Eventually, readers told Quigley what they wanted to read.
During Hurricane Ike, readers wrote in via Twitter to get updates. Conversely, reporters offered updates on what they were learning.
To be sure, some Ireporters, or reporters who are independent of the newspaper, have led the paper astray and sent in bad information via their Tweets. But the Statesman has been able to recover and quell any misinformation before too long.
Yes, many journalists remain unconvinced of Twitter’s application to newspapers and other media. In reality, the Twitter represents another opportunity for a new connection with their communities.