I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now. I’m written before about the pros of Twitter for newspapers, and the more followers we have, the better the pros get.
But because I made the decision not to run the account as a straight RSS feed I’ve run into a few frustrations.
1. The account’s not monitored when I’m not here.
That means responses get missed, questions are asked and not answered and news goes unspotted.
2. I don’t always agree with the angle/headline/tone/existence of a story
It’s only to be expected. I’ve been a news editor. I’ve been a sub. I’m bossy and opinonated and I like to do things my way. Sometimes people on Twitter complain about our choice or treatment of a story – and I agree with them. What to do? I don’t feel comfortable defending it. I can’t apologise for it, because on that account I represent the paper as a brand, and apologising would require the say so of the editor. If I ignore it, don’t I just seem rude?
3. Tips don’t get followed up.
People send me press releases, or links to press releases. I pass them on. They get followed up or not. I’m fine about that, it’s no different to any other form of submitting a release.
But what about when someone asks me, as the paper, to do a story? What about when the newsdesk ask me to get phone numbers for people but then the reporter doesn’t call? What about when I’ve been supporting, retweeting, telling people about charity efforts via Twitter and those people , not unreasonably, ask for a story?
Short of writing all those stories myself and then publishing them online myself, there’s not a lot I can do.
But it puts me in a difficult position with the Twitterers. Most people accept that @Bournemouthecho is the voice of the paper. That’s what we wanted, to build a brand, show people that we’re interested and engaged with them on their own turf.
If I have to tell people that ‘the brand’ is just me, and the interest and engagement stretches only as far as I can hold the newsdesk’s interest, then the whole edifice collapses. Doesn’t it? I’d be grateful for any sage words!