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The careful art of booking interviews via Twitter

It all started when @caitieparker retweeted a breaking news alert about the Tucson shooting adding, “All which took place 2 minutes from my house.” Then she tweets:

As you might expect, it was retweeted around, and Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa was the first to message her, conducting a short-form (and polite) interview. It didn’t take long for news organizations to bombard Parker with messages on Twitter and Facebook, asking for interviews. NYCTheBlog.com counted 35 requests via Twitter (you can see them all here), like this one from Jake Tapper at ABC News:

Parker did a few interviews, but then shut it down. “Anyone who says I’m milking or lying for media attention is WRONG! one tweet & my phone, twitter, & facebook blew up. I never wanted this,” she tweets, followed later by: “This has become something way out of hand. I’m not doing ANY more interviews, or tweets about Jared. So might as well just unfollow now.” With requests still coming in, she posted this a day later:

The public nature of social media has revealed a bit of the awkward, sometimes ugly underbelly of booking interviews on a competitive story. The lesson? Reporters have to be a little more careful with how — and how often — they approach booking on a more public stage. A post on NiemanLab breaks down the different approaches with Parker, from the “playing the local card” to “I feel your pain.” But perhaps my favorite was Tapper’s tweet: simple and direct. Just remember, others are watching.

Adds NBC News’ Ryan Osborn in comments: “… I’ve booked a couple of guests through Twitter and have learned that the best way to reach out to someone is always in real life, which is what I did with Caitie. As soon I saw her tweeting with Anthony De Rosa, I forwarded her information to our booking unit. One of our researchers in Tucson was at her house within a few hours. We did a taped interview and she was live the next morning….”

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