On August 6 around 2 a.m. local time, a NATO helicopter carrying U.S. Special Forces troops crashed in eastern Afghanistan.
The Washington Post had a reporter in person and on the story – but it took a long time for anyone to notice on its social media channels.
A student from my summer social media class at Georgetown University, Katie Bridges, made the following Storify about what happened for a class assignment. I wanted to highlight it here as a lesson, of sorts, to see how social media is still being figured out at news orgs of all sizes.
What should we learn from this? For one, that someone should always be assigned to watching the Twitter feeds of staff reporters (even on weekends). Since that isn’t always possible, at the very least there should be a behind-the-scenes communication in place to make sure the work of reporters on the ground is highlighted and re-tweeted for a larger audience in situations like this.
All of that is most likely in place at the Post and it just failed in this case (hey, it happens). WaPo is a big publication with a lot of reporters and a sizable social media staff – and it can sometimes be a comfort to know that even the big guys are still figuring out social media in their news flow.