I would like to introduce you to Whitney Burbank, journalist for WPBF 25 News, ABC affiliate for Palm Beach County, Florida. Originally from Boston, she has been breaking local news stories in West Palm Beach since 2014, covering everything from politics to special interest stories.
Whitney is very active on social media, specifically Twitter. Not only does she connect with fans and share local events, but most importantly she stays on top of breaking news with constant coverage that an audience can trust.
Just this week Jupiter High School suffered a bomb threat that caused a school evacuation. While parents continued to receive mixed messages from Palm Beach Sherriff’s office and the school board as to whether or not they could pick up their kids, Whitney continued to send status updates out via Twitter, from the civic center where students had been locked in.
As you can see, Whitney uses text, photos, and videos through Twitter to share information. She often tags WPBF 25 News in her posts so that any readers who may not follow her directly are still able to see ongoing stories in the community. This is a great way for her to not only continuously report on her own, but to get the word out to the entire WPBF audience, who of course share and retweet the stories that mean the most to them.
While hashtags are most effectively used on Twitter, Whitney is very selective in when and how she incorporates them into her tweets. Occasionally she does use her Twitter account to tweet about something other than news, such as fun in the office, or a weekend hobby she may be participating in, but in those times she usually uses hashtags as a way of differentiating her voice from informative for the public to playful and social. When Whitney chooses to use hashtags in tweets that are reporting local or national news, she uses them as a way that will allow others to find information. A great example is the Tweet below using #BREAKING to show the most up to date information about an incident involving several TriRail passengers in a crash, and another using #COREYJONES to add to a trending national news story.
Since Whitney is not the only reporter sending stories to the station, she also retweets important stories and tweets made by her colleagues at WPBF 25 News, but most importantly, she replies to her audience and uses Twitter to engage with followers, whether on a serious note or in a friendly manner.
Whitney Burbank is no doubt actively using Twitter to enhance her journalism career. While she can also be found on Instagram and Facebook, Twitter is by far her best platform to reach out to her audience, engage with public happenings, and make a difference when reporting stories.
Target Audience- Palm Beach County residents, journalism students, social media students, other reporters taking on social media.