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The Social Network Twitter Is Becoming Something of a Hangout for High-Profile TV Anchors
1:47 p.m.: "Waiting for the big interview. Cooking up my first question. Gotta go with Wall Street's reaction to the banks plan, no?"
Moran proceeded to scoop himself -- and ABC -- with some of the president's remarks. "Just finished interview," he wrote at 3:06. "I asked, 'Wall Street really doesn't like your plan for banks.' 'Wall Street wants an easy answer, there isn't one.' " Two minutes later: "On why not nationalize banks, O: too many, too expensive, not our culture."
With that kind of pipeline, who needs television?
Most major television news programs and anchors have a Twitter page, but most are impersonal listings and links to promote each show. A relative few offer a steady stream of personal observations.
Gregory says he sometimes gets responses within 10 seconds -- and that the information can be useful in questioning guests. "People generally want to be heard," says Gregory, who has posted pictures from his studio for his 46,000 followers. "They don't want to be talked at. They don't want to deal with closed-off media institutions.
"I want to find people where they are. . . . This is 'Knock knock, let's talk about the news, and by the way, hope you'll check me out on Sunday morning.' "
CNN anchor Rick Sanchez has built his 3 p.m. program around Twitter, as well as Facebook and MySpace, since the show's launch last fall. Sanchez, who has 56,000 followers, reads some tweets on the air and producers run excerpts at the bottom of the screen.
"When I first started doing this, I thought, 'This is crazy. What the hell does this have to do with news?' I thought Twitter was a fad my teenage sons are going through," he says.
During Hurricane Gustav, Sanchez recalls, someone tweeted that a Mississippi highway was backed up for miles. Sanchez reported the information after a producer confirmed it.
Sanchez makes some entries during the program, posting such messages as "alright, what do i lead my show with tomorrow, what's the best video out there. best talker?" And: "getting lots of word that rush limbaugh is going after me on his show, what's he saying? anybody know?"
Twitter is gradually becoming a factor in news events. When that US Airways jet made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in January, Twitter users were providing updates before the New York Times published an online story. Janis Krums, a passenger on a nearby ferry, posted a Twitter photo of the plane in the water that was quickly picked up by major news organizations.
Fox News correspondent Julie Banderas, who was twittering at home when a plane crashed outside Buffalo, asked whether there were any eyewitnesses she could contact. Keith Burtis, who saw the crash, responded to Banderas's posting. She wound up doing a phone interview with Burtis, who later appeared on Fox.