“There is no deadline,” according to NBC4 political reporter Tom Sherwood. “The deadline is dead.”
Sherwood was referring to the immediacy of information sent out via Twitter. “Every second of the day is now a deadline for reporters,” he said.
Sherwood — along with Dave Weigel, Slate.com political reporter; Ylan Mui, Washington Post retail reporter; and Mark Hamrick, AP Radio business editor — spoke at the June 12 PRSA-NCC professional development workshop on Media Relations in the Age of Twitter at the U.S. Navy Memorial & Heritage Center.
The veteran reporters talked about how they use Twitter in their everyday lives and how PR practitioners can best interact with them on this medium.
“I don’t get many DMs [direct messages],” said Mui. “I’ll also notice if you mention me. It helps build the relationship.”
All agreed that PR practitioners should not use Twitter to pitch reporters. “Email is the best way to pitch,” according to Hamrick though he acknowledged, “A good pitch is a good pitch, regardless of how we get it.”
All four panelists use Twitter to varying degrees and find it helpful for getting news they might not have otherwise seen. Furthermore, their news organizations encourage them to be active on the platform.
Mui uses Twitter to promote herself “and the Post encourages us to do this.” Sherwood regularly monitors Twitter and uses it to follow his competitors. Hamrick uses it to “gauge the temperature of the news environment” and distribute content.
Weigel’s assessment of the microblogging platform: “Twitter is basically candy. It’s a fun medium to use.”