NPR reporter Kirk Siegler used to think Twitter was a "huge messy throw-up of something that didn't make a whole lot of sense." Then came the summer of 2012.
Siegler, who recently left member station KUNC for a new position at NPR, shared how he went from Twitter skeptic to Twitter user during that summer and answered questions from other reporters in a recent webinar. Read below for highlights, the video and slides.
— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) June 11, 2012
The usefulness of Twitter for a journalist during breaking news became clear during several destructive Colorado wildfires. When KUNC's main transmitter went down, the Tweets became a resource for residents looking for updates on the fire's path, and Siegler could share photos and facts from his point of view in the field.
More big, breaking news stories followed that summer, including the Aurora theater shooting.
— Kirk Siegler (@KirkSiegler) July 20, 2012
Siegler was in a position that a lot of people weren't, and was able to share real-time information and photos, while also filing stories for the radio, including All Things Considered, that would air later.
A reporter's day-to-day life isn't always filled with breaking news, though. Siegler shared how he often uses social media as a public notebook. During press conferences and other events, a reporter can live-tweet key quotes and facts, and then return to those tweets when putting together a web or radio story.
People are usually interested in what a reporter is working on. Siegler has used this idea to tease stories he's working on - especially when he's on the scene. These stories could be anything from a tour of a 'nano-brewery,' to finding out how farmers are dealing with a severe drought.
Juggling it All:
Siegler doesn't have a complicated answer for how he juggles social media and radio reporting. It takes finding those minutes here and there that are free, making time for what needs time, and most of all practicing to see what works for you and your beat.