CBS News Uses Twitter as an Important Part of Its News Investigating and Reporting

Location
New York, New York
Industry
News
Kits
Dataminr, Tweetdeck, Curator, Tweet Embeds, On-air Tweets, Fabric, Timelines in CBS News App

Quick Facts:
  • One of the oldest news organization in the United States, CBS was established in 1927.
  • CBS offers a variety of news programming through television, online channels, streaming video and mobile devices.

Twitter is additive to the reputation of CBS. It makes what we deliver more current and meaningful to our viewers.

Nancy Lane, Senior Executive Producer, CBS News

Challenge

Challenge CBS News (@cbsnews) saw the rise of new media as a huge growth opportunity for its business. New media platforms, such as Twitter, were changing the way information was shared and consumed and CBS News recognized the importance of reaching its audience through these new outlets.

While there are many social media platforms, Twitter became known as the place where news was breaking, due to the live, real-time aspect of its product. News was now being uncovered in mere moments, and tweeted by any person with a smartphone and a camera. Periscope followed by providing breaking news coverage that shared live video feeds faster than any news crew could possibly get to a location. While critics were calling for the end of traditional news outlets, CBS News knew it needed to adapt to the rapidly evolving new media landscape, while preserving journalistic excellence.

Solution

Solution CBS News recognized that it was crucial to integrate Twitter into its news reporting. They began by incorporating Dataminr(@dataminr), Tweetdeck(@tweetdeck) and Curator(@Curator) into their news discovery process.

Dataminr transforms the Twitter stream and other public datasets into actionable signals, discovering must-know information in real-time. Through its algorithms, it delivers the earliest signals for breaking news, real-world events and emerging trends. Instead of trying to sift through millions of tweets to find a breaking story, Dataminr scours the Twitter firehose of more than 500 million tweets a day and is able to identify breaking news stories. With those alerts in hand, CBS News is able to find real-time leads to follow up with, which helps them determine whether a story is newsworthy or not. Alerts are sent to senior members of the news reporting staff, who then decide if they want staff to follow up and investigate.

Nancy Lane, Senior Executive Producer at CBS News describes the impact of Dataminr on their news business, “Knowing that quickly what’s going on can make a huge difference in getting someplace and getting the information. We get the tip, but then we have a leg up and can go deeper and get more information.”

Tweetdeck, a Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing and engagement, also compliments the news discovery and research process. CBS News reporters and researchers use Tweetdeck to follow influencers as well as create and monitor lists on various news topics. Where Dataminr provides the signal that news is breaking, Tweetdeck then helps CBS News follow the story and see how it evolves.

CBS News also uses Twitter to connect with their viewers and readers. They use their Twitter handle (@cbsnews) to break news, but also to engage with their audience on stories they are developing. Twitter connects CBS News with people who can provide a snapshot into an emerging story. That, in turn, helps to make that story even more comprehensive and accurate, which enables CBS News to uphold its high quality of news reporting.

CBS News has made it easy for reporters to add Tweets to their stories, and for viewers to see Tweets in their mobile app. Through the CBS News app, viewers can easily tweet their favorite stories. Users can also view tweets from their preferred news programs, directly within the app. Each news program has a curated list of tweets displayed within the app, that put viewers in touch with those stories and the show’s news reporters.

Twitter has changed the relationship that news reporters have with viewers. As Marc DeBevoise, EVP and General Manager of Entertainment, Sports & News at CBS Interactive explains, “Journalists used to have a one to many relationship with their audience. Thanks to Twitter, they can now have a one on one relationship with them.” By strengthening relationships with their audience, journalists are in a better position than ever to build trust with that audience and bolster the CBS News brand.

When it comes to curating the best tweets, CBS News uses Curator. Curator finds relevant conversations and trending topics on Twitter and surfaces the best conversations. That gives CBS News access to content that ordinary people are producing that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to access on their own.

Contrary to fears that Twitter would diminish the importance of CBS News, it has actually helped to enhance the news organization’s coverage. Using Dataminr, Tweetdeck and Curator, CBS News has succeeded in uncovering breaking news and sharing stories in new ways. Best of all, they are able to react quickly to breaking news, while confirming sources and upholding their editorial standards.

All three products have become such an integral part of its news operation, that Lane explains, “Twitter is additive to the reputation of CBS. It makes what we deliver more current and meaningful to our viewers.”