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Dateline picks social TV fan to watch premiere with Josh Mankiewicz

NBC News’ Dateline continues to find creative ways to use social TV to build their audience. This summer we broke the news about Dateline Chatline, the show’s new social platform for connective viewers with tweets, anchors and more. Tonight, in honor of the premiere of their 21st season, they’re sending Josh Mankiewicz, who’s been with a correspondent on the show since 1995 to a viewer’s home to watch the show with him. We interviewed Mankiewicz about how they used social to pick the lucky winner.


Mankiewicz and the winner will be watching and live tweeting the premiere episode together – a fun stunt that could prove to be another great source of data to compare to traditional ratings. “Talking to viewers on social media has become a big part of our Friday nights,” said Executive Producer Liz Cole, in the “This is our way of taking that conversation to the next level. What better way to kick off the new season than by watching it with Josh?”

Via #MankAndMe Dateline has been tracking the results from the social competition via this Storify.

Lost Remote: How do you use social media?
Josh Mankiewicz: I use social media as one of many sources of news. It’s also a great way to get a sense of what the audience does and doesn’t care about.

People regularly have questions about Dateline stories, and they want them answered in real time. It’s great to be able to do that on Facebook or Twitter.

My sense is that a lot of people on the news use social media only one way — as a way of promoting what they’re doing. That’s a mistake and it misses a huge opportunity to be accessible to your audience in a way that really connects with people.

LR: How will you be picking the person you go and watch with?
Mankiewicz: Together, Dateline producers and I will go over all the submissions and will pick the one tweet we jointly like the most. We’ll be looking for humor, creativity, and a sense that the viewer is a dedicated Dateline watcher. There are so many great ones; I wish I could pick a dozen.

LR: Thoughts on Dateline Chatline?
Mankiewicz: Dateline Chatline is still in its infancy. It’s a great integrated way to use social media instead of flipping back and forth between Facebook and Twitter.

LR: Anything else?
Mankiewicz: I tweet and Facebook with viewers every day. And I do it live whenever one of my hours is airing. It’s always one of the best parts of my week. For years, TV journalists really had no idea what the audience was thinking — we only knew if they were watching. Social media has changed that dynamic in a way that benefits both parties.

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