Twitter is a wonderful thing. It gets information to your friends and followers right away. Television news departments love it because it’s a great way to promote a story in a newscast coming up.
But KCTV5 is learning from a big “oops” Twitter moment it had on October 21. It was the first game in the World Series between the hometown team, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants. In my opinion, the CBS affiliate was trying to figure out a way to turn viewers away from the Fox station to the CBS affiliate.
The station turned to Twitter. KCTV5 tweeted “Need a break from the game? Watch our 10 p.m. news for the latest on a body found in the Little Blue River & more.”
The tweet caught the eye of Gabe Lacques, USA Today’s baseball editor who retweeted KCTV5’s tweet. His followers weren’t happy with the tweet. KCTV5 deleted the original tweet immediately and then apologized.
A TWEET CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU
I say it over and over “A tweet can make or break you.” That goes for all social media.
KCTV5 took down their tweet and owned up to its mistake. Good move by the station.
I don’t know who wrote the tweet at KCTV5, but what I do know is that social media needs to be taken very seriously.
If your newsroom doesn’t have a social media manager, it should have one. Television stations have managing editors and executive producers, now its time to add a social media manager on every shift. Who approved that KCTV tweet? Was it a manager?
Here’s the sad part. I’ve been told by several reporters, producers and other TV news people across the country that today tweets, Facebook posts are not given the same serious look over that reporter packages or anchor scripts get from managers. In several cases (according to TV sources) the job of tweeting and Facebooking (is that a word?) is given to someone who was taken off another job in the newsroom. Sometimes its given to the new intern. Yes, an intern who is still learning our business.
I repeat, social media can “make or break you.” Give this job to an experienced journalist. They know the rules. I’m sorry, but just because an intern is “young” and has a Twitter account DOES NOT qualify him/her to tweet for a multimillion dollar TV station. I’m not saying you can’t train people to be good social media communicators, but an experienced TV journalist usually knows what NOT to post.
TIPS TO TWEET IN TV NEWS
1. Make sure its informative and factual
2. Is it decent?
2. Be creative, but not callous
3. Think two minutes before you tweet.
4. If you’re connecting it to a tragedy, make sure a producer or manager has approved it. Cover your behind.
5. Don’t try to take advantage of a good event to connect to bad news
6. There should be a social media manager during every newscast
7. Best social media communicators have experience.
8. Yes, you can still be sued over a bad tweet & Facebook post
9. If you make a mistake, admit it right away. Sorry goes a long ways.
10. If promotions tweets for you, make sure you know what they are “teasing” and how.
Rebecca Aguilar is a multiple Emmy award-winning TV reporter, and Emmy nominated TV commentator. She has 33 years of experience in journalism, mostly in television news. Aguilar is a social media manager, news consultant and VP of online for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and VP of membership for the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Chapter.