Saturday November 18, 2017

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

Internet Week NY: NBC Talks Social Media

NY Convergence ORIGINAL

By Jim Flood

At IWNY HQ on Wednesday, the local NBC affiliate sponsored a talk with the new Director of Social Media at NBC News, Ryan Osborn, and a surprise guest, billed as an award-winning broadcast journalist. That guest turned out to be Today Show news anchor Ann Curry.

The session, which focused on the topic "TV in the Age of Social Media," was hosted by NBC4 New York's David Ushery and attracted a standing-room only crowd.

NBC4's David Ushery, left, with Ann Curry and Ryan Osborn of NBC News.

Curry said that her passion is reaching people with information about stories she thinks are important, and she values Facebook and Twitter for letting her continue to engage people beyond the limited time available to her on the Today Show.

Osborn, who has been with NBC News since 2002, was promoted to the newly created social media position two weeks ago. He said he's still navigating whether his primary responsibility will be helping to cultivate more TV viewers for NBC News through social media platforms, or using those platforms to appeal to a separate audience that's not interested in getting its news from television. Osborn has seen how social media can influence and enhance news
coverage, as he created the @TodayShow
Twitter account while working for the show.

Interviewed after the event, Curry said that when she first started sharing information and links on her Twitter feed and Facebook page, her followers were mostly Today Show viewers. But that has changed. Now, when she posts video of Today segments on Facebook, she hears from many of her fans that they haven't previously seen it.

"There are a lot of people out there that don't get their news from TV, but follow me for some reason," Curry said. "I hope that reason is that I take care of them by giving them information that they need." 

Curry said her social media presence allows her to share news items that might not make it onto NBC News broadcasts, or into other major media outlets like the New York Times, but that she thinks people should know about. She lamented that the mainstream media doesn't spend enough time on the stories that are hardest to report, such as the brutal civil war in the Congo. But she emphasized that focusing on the hard stories is a two-way street, telling the audience that it's everyone's responsibility as citizens to care about the stories that matter instead of caring about Kate Gosselin.

On the local front, Ushery said his show The Debrief on NBC's New York Nonstop cable channel tries to appeal to the "YouTube generation" by stripping out some of the traditional rules of broadcast news: he doesn't wear a tie, for one thing, and he moves around instead of sitting behind a desk. Most notably, the show has yielded a bit of editorial control to fans, through a feature on its Facebook page that allows viewers to choose a word that Ushery has to try to say during the broadcast.