Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Why The New York Times considers books — like podcasts and TV — ripe for expansion
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 26, 2009, 4:26 p.m.

Rocky Mountain News: “It’s strange to cover your own funeral”

The Rocky Mountain News is tweeting its last day of production, and it’s a must-read for anyone who cares about newspapers. It’s also a lesson in the power of realtime narrative journalism. Twitter and live-blogging won’t save journalism; they wouldn’t have saved the Rocky Mountain News. (The paper has dozens of its reporters on Twitter, but most haven’t updated their accounts in months.) Still, read these tweets and tell me that Twitter isn’t a critical tool of our craft.

My boss Josh Benton gave a talk on this subject at last year’s Nieman Narrative Journalism Conference, which you can listen to here and read about here. But for now, just take in the tweets, highlights of which I’ve compiled below. At 12:07 p.m., Mountain Time, the feed made a dramatic transition from its typical role as a news ticker — “Cops nab 4, hunt for 5 who fled from van on I-70,” “Stocks advance as investors bet on banks” — into a chronicle of the newspaper’s final hours:

Lots of people have argued that newspapers should get away from using their Twitter feeds simply as conduits to link to their own stories, and that a more personal, human approach can lead to a bigger and more engaged audience of followers. Obviously, today is an unusual case, but it’s worth noting that the Rocky’s Twitter account has gone from around 60 followers to over 400 in the past few hours.

RMN reporter Daniel Chacon is now tweeting the Scripps press conference on his own account. It occurs to me that I don’t know which reporter is handling the @RMN_Newsroom feed, but I’ll try to find out and update here. In the meantime, all our best to the fine reporters in Denver.

UPDATE, 8:22 p.m.: The most recent tweet from @RMN_Newsroom is signed, “Mike Noe,” who is the paper’s interactive editor.

POSTED     Feb. 26, 2009, 4:26 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Why The New York Times considers books — like podcasts and TV — ripe for expansion
“Reporters leave a ton in their notebooks. The book form really gives us a chance to expand the journalism.”
No paywall in the chicken coop: A fast-food chain is paying to take down 16 Canadian newspapers’ paywalls this month
Canadians will be able to keep abreast of the latest news for the next month, thanks to a sponsorship from Mary Brown’s Chicken & Taters, home of the Tater Poutine. This thing could have legs.
How a Boston Globe website started connecting those in need because of coronavirus with those who can help
“We love our city and these are our neighbors. It’s a difficult time and if we can make a difference, we will.”