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Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on Rise of Social TV: ‘How I Watch TV Now’

harrisfaulkner_304x200-300x197She anchors Fox News Channel’s weekend “Fox Report,” reports breaking news during the week across the network, and Harris Faulkner spoke to Lost Remote about her third job: leveraging social TV for Fox News.

“It’s how I watch television now,” Faulkner said about her knack for live-tweeting with viewers from the Fox News “deck” during the week. “I find to make it interesting to even myself, I like to kind of multi-platform things.”

The nine-year Fox veteran loves bringing fans from social media in to her reporting, telling us how a Colorado marijuana legalization segment blowing up online integrated live on-air.

“It was one of our most responded to segments because people knew I would read what they were posting,” she said about sharing appropriate for air comments during the show.  “Their content is often so intuitive, it’s part of a conversation that you put your eyes on for just a second while you were also broadcasting live.”

She also notes how the increased synergy between social media and TV News is helping bring in younger viewers—the holy grail for cable news executives —since younger viewers grew up multi-tasking compared to their older counterparts.Interestingly, increased social activity has changed more than just real-time on-air integration: it has transformed the news gathering process, particularly during breaking news.

“Loved ones will tweet out” Faulkner said, thinking back to how social media provided the newsroom key information during coverage of the death of Whitney Houston. “I was on the air for hours with that coverage, and we were gathering tidbits as quickly as we could, but people who loved Whitney Houston were tweeting out things about the journey, her days leading up to her death, that we never would have had access to within seconds after learning of her passing.”

More recently, Harris learned of the Aspen plane crash from seeing tweets—from a comedian and musician inside the airport—who in that moment became reporters.

“I can say boldly this was one of those times where you see something come up in your Twitter stream and you’re like: ‘Wait a minute did that say Kevin Nealon…is he reporting now? It was succinct, just the facts, and a photo. It was like a Reuters clip.”

Even with social media altering TV news, Faulkner notes there still are stories like the George Zimmerman verdict and tragic school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut that cause social conversation to quiet down.

“Leadership in coverage calls for an anchor,” she said. “What I have noticed is when the subject matter is dire and it’s urgent at that moment, I’ll see the Twitter chatter calm down a bit and you’ll see that viewership bump up.”

You can watch Harris anchor “Fox Report” weekends at 7pmET.

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