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Twitter Makes You More Informed

by John on 02/14/2017

INI twitter screenshotIn my last post, I talked about aggregating news stories to help people during the Paris Terror Attacks in November, 2015.

The big reason was my Twitter newsfeed. In fact, it might make you more informed than most news agencies.

Here’s how.

Check it out.  You will see I only follow news sites and journalists.  Most of them are considered reputable or reliable.  Sure, there are some from the left and the right.

Here’s what it does:

  • Offers a wide variety of stories so you can see what is considered the big news story for that audience or region.
  • Offers a wide variety of views on particular stories.
  • Saves you time by having the stories all in one place; like what an RSS Feed used to do.  (RSS Feeds: so ancient!)

paris-attack-nov-13So the night of the Paris terror attacks, I was following dozens of news organizations including the traditional US newspapers and broadcast outlets; local French newspaper LeMonde and the French TV news station, France-24.  As horrible as it was, I had possibly hundreds of journalists working for me in different areas of the city covering the coordinated attacks.

You will also notice I followed the US State Department.  Although they couldn’t offer much news, they did offer the lifeline to many people who were there and some hope for families of loved ones.

twitterYou can use this Twitter news feed for local news and your own safety.

Remember, local TV news stations thrive on and usually deliver on breaking news.  They are great for alerting us to nearby danger. It could be a crazed killer or a killer tornado. The faster you know, the safer you are.

Here’s the trick.  Follow your local news stations or if you prefer pick the one that excels at breaking news.  (Chances are they’re all pretty equal.)

Then, once you have located the station, find the Twitter account for that TV station’s assignment manager or assignment editor.  Also be aware: it might just be the account for the Assignment Desk.

Why?  The assignment manager or editor is the person on the news desk listening to the police scanners. They are the first to know anything.  And they will be the first to ask for help on social media from locals – giving you an insider heads-up.

news assignment deskLet’s say the assignment managers hears on the scanner that a plane may have crashed in a farmer’s field.  Calling the police dispatcher might slow down emergency response.  So the assignment manager may tweet, “anybody see a plane going down in Farmer Jones’s field?”

You now have a heads up.  Does it mean a plane crashed?  No.  But at least you know something might have happened.  And awareness is the first step to safety.

There are a few downsides to this Twitter news feed.

  • You may not be able to find that Assignment Manager or Editor.
  • Sadly, Twitter is in financial trouble, so we may have to find another platform soon.
  • Your friends will be upset when you don’t follow them back. Don’t do it unless he/she is a top-notch reporter. Tell them instead to follow you on your snarky Twitter feed

Setting up a news twitter feed takes a little time.  But when there is breaking news or you want to look at what is happening quickly, you will appreciate the time you took to set it up.



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