A former regional daily editor has urged journalists to take up using Twitter to guard themselves against the threat of redundancy.
Writing for the B2B magazine InPublishing, he said Twitter is now superseding the PA newswire as the main source of breaking news.
He also argued that journalists who develop a “personal brand” on Twitter are “more likely to evade the budget axe.”
John, now running his own media consultancy Meehan Media, set out his views in an article headed Ten Reasons to Tweet.
He wrote: “Many journalists have embraced Twitter with passion, personality and purpose, but some have held back. I don’t understand that – how can any journalist fail to see that Twitter should be their personal news wire?
“Twitter is awash with stories of all kinds and, when news breaks, it invariably breaks first on Twitter.
“My focus is largely on news from East Yorkshire and the Humber region and every day I am struck by how often stories appear in my Twitter timeline before they are published by mainstream media.”
John praised the recently-appointed political editor of the Yorkshire Post, Jack Blanchard, for using Twitter to live blog a Commons debate on the so-called Caravan Tax.
“Jack’s running commentary would have graced any newswire, but it also included asides and insights. It was a textbook example of using new technology to aid rapid-fire story-telling,” said John.
“Journalists should recognise that Twitter is a great personal opportunity. Building your own brand on Twitter makes you more likely to evade the budget axe, more likely to be valued by your employer, and more attractive to others.
“It may seem selfish, but aren’t self-preservation or career progression good enough reasons alone to get into Twitter? In these difficult times for journalism, I’d certainly say so.”
His own Twitter feed – a mix of Hull and East Yorkshire news and journalism-related content – can be found here.