Not a follower? Huh?

I am at a complete loss when I see some newspapers who are attempting to use Twitter as a new means of distributing and promoting digital content not following anyone, or following very few.

First of all, how can you use it interact with your readers if you are not following any of them?
Using “social” media as a one-way communication device is so counterintuitive that it kind of figures traditional newspaper folks would be the ones to do it that way.
In addition to pure story tips you wouldn’t have received without Twitter, or nearly as fast, we are finding that it helps us learn all kinds of things about what our readers care about and the type of information they are seeking at a given moment.
It has pushed us into more intensive and speedier coverage of some basic stuff (but basic stuff that was not the domain of traditional newspaper organizations) such as winter storm road conditions, traffic alerts and school closings.
It has helped us realize how strongly folks feel about issues such as a controversy about yellow ribbons being banned on the Litchfield Town Green.
And in real time, Twitter has enabled us to see when a politician’s decisions or words create a backlash that could turn out to be a turning point in public sentiment. For example, reaction to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s statement, tweeted immediately by several news outlets, in a debate the other night that “lawsuits create jobs.” Or our tweeting of a congressional candidate’s speech in Torrington on Tuesday that “10 million of the nation’s uninsured don’t have health insurance because they don’t want it.”

About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
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