Hurricane Gustav, CNN, and Twitter

I have previously written that I believed Twitter’s tipping point was coming on November 4, 2008 – the night of the Presidential election.  In that post, I wrote about how Twitter would cross into mainstream media and we would be seeing Tweets being quoted by news anchors. But Hurricane Gustav has played in a role in accelerating that timeframe.  More specifically, Rick Sanchez has been playing a major role.  Mr. Sanchez,  a reporter for CNN, has been integrating Twitter into his newscasts for the past 3 weeks. 

I have never heard of Rick Sanchez before and only stumbled upon his social media integrated newscast on Saturday night when I was channel flipping to find New Orleans evacuation news one of my brief strays away from US Open tennis (which I pretty much watched all weekend).  In addition to excellent reporting, I found Mr. Sanchez on CNN showing familiar Twitter “@” replies on the monitor sitting on his desk.  The next morning, I decided to follow Mr. Sanchez at http://twitter.com/ricksanchezcnn and noticed his recent Twitter activity.  He clearly gets the value of integrating the mediums and interacting…as noticed by his tweet:

what a remarkable tool, cable tv with twitter

I wasn’t the only one to discover Mr. Sanchez’s evolution of TV news this weekend.  And It appears he’ll be debuting a new show on CNN next Monday – “Rick Sanchez Direct” – that intends to integrate Twitter, Facebook, etc.  I’ll be tuning for sure

Perhaps Mr. Sanchez doesn’t deserve extra credit in evolving interactive news.  In the web world, we’ve seen this sort of live interaction building over the years.  Chris Pirillo has been on the cutting edge of interactive live broadcasting for a while now.  And Robert Scoble has certainly (as always) pushing the boundaries by taking advantage of what Qik has to offer with mobile broadcasting.  But somebody had to take the big step at CNN and actually DO IT.  Not only did Rick Sanchez take the first step, but he’s also making it successful.  Actually I’m very curious how fusing Twitter into CNN news happened.  Did Mr. Sanchez and/or his producer bring this to CNN program management?  This would be yet another example of social media infusing the enterprise from the outer layers.  Could Qik and CNN integration be far behind?


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