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Gunman sparks WSOC evacuation, anchors tweet updates

With a woman with a gun in his TV station’s lobby and a building-wide evacuation underway, WSOC-TV anchor Blair Miller didn’t have a newscast. But he had his iPhone and a Twitter account, which he used to update an ongoing story at his own workplace.

Shortly before the Charlotte station’s 5 p.m. newscast got underway, a distraught woman with a gun entered the station’s lobby, prompting a full evacuation.

While the TV station’s main Twitter account was dark during the incident — until they made it back into the building about a half hour later — WSOC anchor Blair Miller tweeted constant updates from his iPhone. For many, the tweets were the only source of updates — WSOC’s website featured just a short story that the station was off the air because of a woman with a gun (it was updated when employees returned to the newsroom.)

Together with co-anchor Natalie Pasquarella, who also tweeted during the evacuation, they posted a video update on Twitvid outside the station. Later, Miller tweeted a photo of the station’s general manager updating staff after the incident. “We couldn’t tell the story any other way,” Miller said in a tweet to @lostremote.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and the gun turned out to be unloaded. But it underlines the power of Twitter as a backup publishing path when more traditional publishing means are unexpectedly interrupted.

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