“There are two sides to every story.” We’ve all heard that before, but when it comes to reporting on social media, especially live-tweeting, journalists often sacrifice thoroughness for immediacy–post what you see and hear and the job’s done. That is, unless you’re Joy Wang, a reporter and weekend weather anchor for Hubbard Broadcasting’s KOB4 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Wang believes her audience on social media is entitled to the same journalistic rigor as the people who watch her on TV, so she prepares her live tweets with the same intensity as her traditional stories for air.
For example: Vice President Mike Pence’s August visit to New Mexico for a speech about the Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. “I started working on that the night before. I was on the phone with people from the Democratic Party of New Mexico,” Wang said. “[When live-tweeting] it’s not like I can just run off to someone else and get the other side.”
She remained in touch with the DPNM through the speech the next day–but if not for the pre-planning, she wouldn’t have gotten the timely responses she needed. The result? She was able to inform her Twitter followers not just of what Pence had to say, but where the Democrats differed. “I just think it’s kind of irresponsible of me to tell people something that [Pence] says is happening, if other parties have done their own research and disagree with it,” Wang said. “It’s important for people…to know whether or not they should believe what the politician is saying on stage.”
VP urging people to reject “climate change agenda” and say “no to the green new deal.”
— Joy Wang (@JoyKOB) August 21, 2019
Of course, Wang also takes advantage of Twitter’s immediacy, whether to keep in touch with the newsroom, while on assignment, or to alert her followers to time-sensitive stories. Her example was an August 13th gas leak that created a cloud and shut down some roads. “It was already pretty late at night..people need to know they can’t get home, ” Wang said. “You can’t wait until 10 o’clock to give people that information.”
— Joy Wang (@JoyKOB) August 14, 2019
She’s not worried about stealing her own thunder or hurting the TV broadcast. “I think the moment you have information you want to share it. And I don’t think everyone agrees with me on that,” Wang said. “But…when you watch the story at 10 o’clock…I’m showing you something different, or I might’ve learned something different in the meantime.”
But Wang says for the most part–her television viewers and Twitter followers are two separate audiences, and should be treated as such — both getting the whole picture.
“If someone only watched my newscast, and someone else only saw my tweets, they would both be able to have a conversation about that story.”
Do you know an anchor, reporter or meteorologist who is creatively using social media and deserves to be featured in our next Social Media Spotlight? If so, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll check out the story.