The Twitter interview has become a strange, somewhat mythical beast in digital journalism. Using a 140-characters-or-less platform can seem like a journalist’s heaven or hell, depending on how you like to gather your information, but there’s no doubt that the so-called “twinterview” has become de riugeur for journalists of all kinds.
However, it’s not the end-all-be-all of cutting edge techniques, and you should never settle for a “twinterview” unless it specifically fits for your story’s needs and goals. Here are a few quick tips to recognizing when and why reaching out to contacts and sources through Twitter can be useful, and how it can be a flop for other situations.
Have you conducted an interview over Twitter? Tell us about it in the comments.
DO: When Breaking Journalism Happens
If a major event happens, conducting a series of short interviews via Twitter can be the best way to find out what’s going on from people who are living it — especially if you can’t get there yourself. On Friday, BuzzFeed’s new LA bureau gathered information about a harrowing hostage situation at a Nordstrom Rack in a Westchester Mall and the related lockdown of a nearby movie theater by reaching out to those trapped inside on Twitter.
The result was an overwhelming success. BuzzFeed got an inside glimpse into the situation by those who were in lockdown, and received valuable, real-time information as it happened. A situation like this, where an outlet gains unprecedented access to an emergency, perhaps wouldn’t be executable without Twitter’s openness and quick information transfers. Don’t be afraid to use it when you’re looking for information on emergencies and other breaking news happenings, because it could lead you to the best sources out there. Read more