When a UNC journalism school faculty member asked me if I’d be interested in going to Charlotte the first week of September to help The Charlotte Observer cover the Democratic National Convention, I believe my response was something to the effect of: “Um, duh.”
I have to admit, when I later found out I’d been assigned to The Charlotte Observer’s social media team, I was a bit disappointed. (But I’m a reporter! Why wasn’t I chosen for the reporting team? I want clips!)
But I did report — sometimes information no one else had yet — all through Twitter.
Take a look at some of the reporting I did from Twitter, social media team style:
I also got pictures and basic information whenever I came upon interesting characters in the streets — like circus performers or a pair of jugglers at CarolinaFest, Brass Connection playing on the corner of Trade and Tryon or sidewalk singer Nao Barber serenading the passersby.
A social media team member in the office would retweet my reporting from the Observer’s account or use the information to help writers formulate a written story.
So what if I didn’t come away with traditional clips? I have those. I learned — hands on — just how important Twitter is for news gathering. I learned how to use Storify to show how a protest unfolded or illustrate audience reactions to speeches. I learned to think in real-time, not I’ll-write-it-later time. I learned how to squeeze news into 140 characters or less.
And for a journalist entering the industry in the heat of the social media revolution, those are marketable skills.
Read more on Poynter.org: What I learned about social media as a storytelling tool and, sometimes, as the story.