Jason DeRusha: Lessons in New Media

Media Training, Seminars, Advice

Twitter For Journalists

Posted by derushaj on January 1, 2008

Last week I was doing a story on how Christmas trees can cause serious allergy problems. Senior 10 p.m. producer Scott Howard noticed this story on WebMD talking about the huge amount of mold spores released to the air when we bring a dead tree inside.

I lined up an allergist (that was easy) and then went to a Christmas tree lot (also easy). To put this in baseball terms: my effort was solid single. I needed someone who was sniffing and sneezing and didn’t know that their real Christmas tree might be to blame. My photographer, Chris Cruz, was just the person. He had symptoms of an allergy which started when he brought his tree into his home.

But I didn’t really want to interview my co-worker.

Enter Twitter.com. Twitter is hard to describe. On it’s homepage: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate…through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Most people use Twitter in conjunction with a text messaging plan, and follow a series of friends. I have an account here.

Last week, I sent out this message on my twitter page, alerting the 80 people who follow me that I was looking for someone with a Christmas tree allergy.

Shortly thereafter, I got a direct message from Connie telling me “I am allergic to some Christmas trees! don’t know if I would say I “go nuts,” but I do break out in a rash if I touch them without gloves.”

Bingo. We were at Connie’s house within an hour, and I found the perfect interview for my story. Connie showed us her gloves, showed us her real tree, and was the perfect person to help tell our story. After the interview, I sent this alert out telling my friends about Ranty’s great soundbite.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, you have to join (it’s free). Julio Ojeda-Zapata, the tech columnist for the Pioneer Press (and and prolific tech blogger), just wrote an article about Twitter’s use for journalists.


Posted in Media, Technology Stuff | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Rapid Response Competitive Public Relations

Posted by derushaj on December 11, 2007

Not long ago I did a story on a woman who believes her DirecTV installer (a contractor with another company) stole her laptop computer.  It was there prior to install, then gone after.

Immediately after my story, I got this e-mail from Christopher Huseth, Comcast

Jason, I just read your story about the sub-contractor for DIRECTV stealing Ms Adams lap top in Robinsdale.  How terrible!  Sad to say I’m not surprised to hear this   I would like to extend Ms. Adams to Comcast Cable, Internet, and Phone services.   We are local, bonded, and insured.   Rest assured I would personally follow up on her installation myself, if she was interested in switching television providers?    Please pass along to Ms. Adams as you may?  My contact information is below.

I forwarded the e-mail and today got a note from Mr. Huseth saying that Jamie Adams may switch when she moves.  Good, personal, public relations.

Posted in Media, Public Relations | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Social Networking To Gather Story Ideas

Posted by derushaj on November 21, 2007

I’m an active participant in several social networking sites.  I MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter.  I also have a LiveJournal page, a tumblr site, and this blog.   Plus my wcco.com/jasonblog page.  Insane.

Anyway, as an experiment, I sent out a blast on facebook and myspace, searching for story ideas.  I wondered how many I’d get, and whether they’d be useful.  I got more than a dozen ideas, at least half of them were really good and actionable.  One of those ideas, I’m working on investigating right now.

For the news tonight, I was working on a story on a crime spree hitting local coffee shops.  I sent out a twitter notice, that I was doing the story, and looking for people’s favorite coffee shops to go shoot video at.  I took one suggestion, and that’s where I shot tonight’s story.

In the old days, journalists had time to work the beat and develop sources.  Today, there’s no reason to not tap into the social networks which many of us are developing for fun.  Don’t abuse it by asking too often.

Posted in Media | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Crazy Day At The TV Station

Posted by derushaj on November 17, 2007

I’m a reporter at a Minneapolis TV Station and today was insane.

8:45-10:30am: I spoke to a group of Minnesota Hospital PR people.

1:45 pm: Left For Work

2:30 pm: Attended afternoon meeting

3:30 pm: Departed for Bloomington recycling facility, to shoot 10 p.m. story

4:59 pm: Arrived back at station to tease 10 p.m special project story on the set

5:15 pm: Teased story

6:00 pm: Started logging video for 10 p.m. story on recycling

8:00 pm: Finished writing 10 p.m. story on recycling

8:30 pm: Go to convention center to receive national award from FCCLA.

9:15 pm: Back at station to write web stories for YouTube (special project story) and Recycling story.  Then wrote a blog for YouTube.

10:00 pm: Watched news.

10:20 pm: Left for home.

I’ve spent the past hour setting up my new TiVo HD, so that makes everything in the world right.  The only TV I watch is on TiVo, so it was dumb to have an HD tv and not watch it in Hi-Def.

Posted in Internal, Media | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WCCO Bridge Collapse Coverage

Posted by derushaj on November 16, 2007

The collapse of the I-35W bridge was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever covered.  I’m doing a presentation on the 35w Bridge collapse to an association of hospital staffers, and I’ve found some videos to share.

My First Broadcast from the Scene: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=29735@wcco.dayport.com

10pm broadcast: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=29675@wcco.dayport.com

John Reger live at HCMC: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=29676@wcco.dayport.com

911 Tapes: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=30530@wcco.dayport.com

Doctors talking about the bridge collapse: http://www.wcco.com/video/?id=30153@wcco.dayport.com

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