CoTweet and Curators Part II (Belated)

Although it’s several days late, I can’t help but publish the post I had written following Tuesday’s UM System Board of Curators meeting and subsequent press conference.

A couple of things stood in the way of the publishing of this post: a) a lead on a news story that came about up about a proposed academic freedom policy and b) the passing of Apple CEO and technology mogul Steve Jobs.

Tuesday was a reporting marathon for those of us who made the trip to the UMSL student center for the Board of Curators meeting and press conference.

Though I did get the chance to write an article of my own on the proposed new retirement plan, the real learning experience came from just watching MU football beat writer Harry Plumer and his sports-writer colleagues from other (competitor) newspapers/media outlets.

Listening to those writers talk shop as they stood around waiting (nearly 4 hours) for the night’s press conference was an awesome backstage look at the community of sports writers that cover Mizzou athletics.

And it is very much a community. As Harry told me later that night, they’re all in it together — and that’s the attitude each of the writers brought to the meeting, and it was cool to see them help each other out.

My other big learning experience Tuesday was CoTweet, and getting a feel for what it really takes to live-tweet an event. It’s a situation where you’re required to make a lot of split-second decisions, and the pressure is on when you’re tweeting live alongside you’re competitors.

During the public session, I had trouble taking diligent notes while trying to make those on-the-spot decisions about tweeting, so I abandoned the idea and focused instead on the article I knew I needed to write.

But that evening, Harry and I decided that I would take over the @CoMoSports twitter account and live tweet the press conference. With my focus just on tweeting, I think I did a better job of actively listening for tweet-worthy lines, but I’d just scratched the surface.

Even with all of my attention turned to tweeting, I was still faced with a multitude of decisions — do I directly quote or paraphrase? How should I attribute? Should I mention other twitter accounts?

In the end, I tweeted 7 times from @CoMoSports, and though none of the tweets were really substantial, they did get the main points of the press conference across to readers who were watching their timelines. If I got to make excuses for myself, I’d chalk up my difficulties to being a rookie and I’d argue that I’m much better prepared for the next time I get to tweet.

Overall, it was fun to be a part of such a big announcement and it was a good, long reporting day.

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