OLD Media Moves

Using Twitter to find sources and examples for stories

August 26, 2008

Bob Garfield of On the Media interviews Julio Ojeda Zapata, a technology columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, about how he uses Twitter to help in his writing.

Here is an excerpt from their conversation:

TwitterBOB GARFIELD: Give me an example of a story that you were able to flesh out with the help of contacts made via Twitter.

JULIO OJEDA ZAPATA: Well, one story that comes to mind was about people that sort of can’t leave their work at the office. They go on vacation, they take their laptops and they continue working. Twitter users tend to be kind of workaholic techie, social media, Internet addict types.

So this was tailor made for that kind of an audience. So I put it out there and, you know, literally within minutes was getting responses from people who, in fact, happened to be on vacation with their laptops and saw my Tweet and responded. So I thought that was kind of funny.

BOB GARFIELD: Now, you know, I got to say while superficially it would seem that this really broadens your ability to get that kind of anecdote and to get sources for a story you’re working on, I wonder if it doesn’t actually have the opposite effect, narrowing your range as a reporter to the universe of your 715 contacts?

JULIO OJEDA ZAPATA: Your point is well taken. I have to be very conscious of the fact that this is a silo. This is one group of people. I can’t overly rely on these people. I have to find sources by other means, as well. I can’t just do Twitter. But, I can’t overstate how wonderful this has been for me.

Read more here.

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