Social Studies: Favre’s comeback breaks via Twitter

August 20, 2009

As posted on Social Studies on August 18:

Michael Jackson’s funeral notice may have generated a CNN Breaking News Alert today, but the big news for us Minnesotans captured four of the top 10 trending spots on Twitter:

Brett Favre, Farve, Vikings and WCCO.

But why was local CBS affiliate WCCO-TV trending right along with the news of Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings?

Because they broke the story — via Twitter.

Via David Brauer at MinnPost:

Reporter Mark Rosen, preparing for a Hawaiian vacation set to begin Wednesday, got a call around 8:30 a.m. from a team poohbah. Fifty minutes later, the tweet heard round the world — well, at least the sports world — went out via @wccobreaking:

“A high-level source with the Minnesota Vikings tells WCCO’s Mark Rosen that QB Brett Favre is expected to sign with the team Tuesday.”

The station’s willingness to sit on a story that would quadruple its web traffic — producing a spike only exceeded by the 35W bridge collapse — reflects oft-derided mainstream newsroom values.

While the concept of news breaking online is nothing new, it’s exciting — and indicative of the changing landscape — to watch legacy journalists embrace new media channels, such as Twitter, for their breaking news reports.

The content mainstream news institutions gather, confirm and report is just as valuable today as ever before, but the distribution model must change to keep pace with technology, generational habits and the ever-quickening pace of the news cycle.

For example, although I don’t often watch local television news, I do subscribe to all available local TV station Twitter feeds, frequent their Web sites and read reporter blogs. I learned of Favre’s new Vikings deal via Twitter, sent it to a friend via e-mail, who posted it to his Facebook page.

News is news, in spite of the delivery format.

Now bring on the Super Bowl tweets!

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