Tweet This

By Adam Salk
TU journalism student | Oct. 14, 2009

If Twitter has you in a bind about the new technology age, then Tyler Waldman has the solution that will untie the knot.

Tyler is a college student who is effectively using social networking, such as Twitter, to advance his journalism for Towson’s Towerlight student paper. His columns on technology made him a perfect informant on the usefulness of Twitter.

Q: How has Twitter changed the landscape of online journalism?

Towerlight staff member Tyler Waldman

Towerlight staff member Tyler Waldman. (photo courtesy of Tyler Waldman)

Twitter helped to create this “small world” effect. I am just a few clicks and keyboard strokes away from many of my sources and fellow journalists. To be clear, Twitter isn’t and can’t be an effective way to do interviews, but it is a great tool for networking, like other social sites.

Q: What techniques and tools do you use on Twitter to find stories or public opinion?

Sometimes I will tweet or retweet what I or another Towerlight staffer is working on to try to find a lead on a story. I can’t really say how that’s worked for other people or outlets. It hasn’t really worked for me. But it is great for marketing and creating excitement around the content.

Q: Has Twitter helped you make any connections with other journalists?

Oh yes, definitely. I’ve tweeted back and forth with many people at The Sun and b and many former Towerlighters and friends. Many of these people I’ve since met in real life at places like the Baltimore Twestival, or just while covering a story. In fact, I got featured on a Sun blog because of just that a few months ago: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/technology/2009/06/the_new_tools_of_a_new_journal.html

Q: How effective and useful is Twitter for journalism?

Q: How often do you utilize Twitter when writing a story?

The last two questions I feel are best answered in one answer. Twitter helps people connect, which is great, but it’s not something to contact people over for stories. For that, I prefer longer-form, more formal methods like e-mails and phone calls. However, on the other end of the spectrum, Twitter is also insanely fast. In the spring, you may remember the Parente murder-suicide case. It was a Monday, right after a Towerlight editorial board meeting. I was on my laptop messing around for a bit afterwards, when I saw a tweet pop up on Twitterfox from ABC2 News saying that there were bodies found in a Towson hotel. I clicked and within five minutes, then-senior editor Nick DiMarco and video editor Eric Gazzillo were out the door. We found out about that on Twitter.

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