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When CEO’s (or News Directors) “Get It”: Fox12 August 18, 2009

In November I was asked to be KTRV’s “Twitter Correspondent” during the Presidential election coverage.  Their thinking was “Why continue to have the same ‘ol stodgy old Political Science Professor every year saying the same thing, when we could interact with the public instead?”

We did a video on how to sign up for Twitter and told viewers to do so at the beginning of the special Presidential Election coverage.  We asked questions via Twitter and on air and showed those comments during the coverage.  This was groundbreaking in Boise…a very big deal.

Since then, Fox12 always has the best stories with local Tweeple as the experts.  They are the hip cats in town.

Although News Director, Kelly Cross, might not be the CEO, he is in charge & leads a crew of hip anchor Tweeple.  Here are his answers to the same questions I asked Rick Lierz about what he is doing to lead the charge with Social Media.

When did you first see the possibilities of integrating social media into Fox12?
You and Bob J. really gave me my first exposure to the notion of integrating social media into the world of local television news.  The work you did in conjunction with my local news team in covering the general election back in November really showed me the potential such an integration could have.  I also was lucky enough to have a good friend (@schlanghole), already immersed in social media, who pushed me to get more involved specifically with Twitter.  He convinced me to plow through my reluctance and become an active member of the Twitter community, and he showed me how to be involved.  He gave me a set of guidelines that really make sense, and clarify how to and how not to successfully integrate s.m. into the tangible world.

What have been the very first steps – tools, training, educating, convincing, rules etc?
Getting my coworkers involved has been interesting.  It’s been about a 50/50 split between those who readily jumped into s.m., and those who consider themselves too disconnected to try.  Those who’ve expressed an interest in being more active have gotten support, encouragement, and guidance from me.  In truth, my crew has done an excellent job of really engaging the other people out there on a personal level, as well as pumping information out when it’s timely and relevant.

Now that you have taken the first steps…if you were to do it over again, what would you do differently?
If I had it to do all over again, I’m not sure what I’d change….I admit I’d love to take back a handful of tweets that seemed o.k. when I sent them, but in hindsight made me feel embarrassed or ashamed.

What tools do you see being the most effective for your overall purpose of using SM?
From a professional standpoint, Twitter has been easily the most effective s.m. tool for us.  We have a very good balance between social and business engagements, and I feel that overall, we are way ahead of the curve in terms of local media outlets using s.m. effectively.  In sheer volume, I’m sure our competitors on Fairview are still bigger…but I would argue that we bring a far more genuine and appreciated approach to s.m. and that the local Twitterverse would agree.   From a personal standpoint, FB has been a great platform for reconnecting with old coworkers, classmates and friends…I think it’s less effective from a business/social mix standpoint.

What is your favorite tool to date?
Twitter

Who do you recommend the most to others to follow or friend?
My recommendation to others is to follow if you’re looking to engage, inform, and learn at a fast pace….and friend if you’re looking to reconnect with your past.

What are your 6 mo, and 12 month goals?
My short and long term goals right now are unclear in terms of s.m.  – except to say that I want to be ready when the s.m. world evolves and the ‘new’ Twitter emerges.  Getting on the bus early is a must.

Future…if you had unlimited resources?
If I had unlimited resources, I’d retire and let somebody else figure it all out!

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