Get to know your local television news director through their social media footprint.
I cover the Twitter front.
Today let’s play get to know your local television news director through their social media footprint.
–WISN-TV’s (Channel 12) news director Chris Gegg is @ChrisGegg. Joined Twitter in 2008, the earliest of all local news directors by one month.
Banner photo: Chopper 12
Followers: 993, most of any local news director.
Number of tweets: 2,932
Profile: Gegg tweets “about TV News & Behind the Scenes stuff at WISN. I also tweet observations about everyday life.”
Sample tweet: “Beautiful sunrise in Milwaukee. Great start to the day.” Mostly retweets station’s reporters.
—WITI-TV’S (Channel 6) John LaPorte @LaPort006. Joined Twitter in 2010.
Banner photo: Back of a Harley Davidson Jacket.
Number of Tweets: 7,807.
Profile: Describes himself as a “classic movie nut.”
Sample Tweet: Recently tweeted reference to “The Princess Bride,” but mostly retweets his station’s reporters.
—Then there is Janet Hundley, who became WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) news director in 2014 and fell into a shitstorm: new station ownership, veteran anchor retirement, dropping to 4th place at 10 p.m. until ratings stabilized.
As @JanetHundley she is the most prolific local news director on Twitter which she joined in 2008.
But she has the most puzzling account. A vast majority of her 28,000 tweets to 456 followers promote news stories on WLS-TV in Chicago, where she was previously assistant news director. She is a good friend to her old friends.
As of 1 p.m. Monday, all eight Tweets were exclusively Chicago stories.
A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that so far this August just six of about 174 tweets were about WTMJ. And in July WTMJ-related tweets accounted for just 30% of her total output.
The rest were about Chicago news and events from WLS.
Cubs sweep Brewers at Wrigley with 7th win in a row: The Chicago Cubs swept the Brewers at Wrigley Field Thurs… http://t.co/SkyYZmearw
— Janet Hundley (@JanetHundley) August 13, 2015
While the steady flow of tweets suggests a bot of sorts likely posts them automatically on her behalf, the overall impression is of someone with no particular interest in the local market. Her Twitter profile lists her location as Chicago and her banner photo is of what looks like Michigan Ave. or State St.
Her profile says: “News junkie. Loves opposing views, family, friends, kids, pets & travel. Favorite things: early mornings in the city, bike rides, beach walks & flying planes.”
Her flatlander-centric Twitter feed is a molehill in the scheme of things. But be it informational or personal social media is one of the ways a station promotes itself and connects with the public.
Every station puts top spin on its coverage while reporting on the same stories: WITI is warm and fuzzy, WISN is just-the-facts and WDJT-TV (Channel 58) is the little engine that could.
But what are viewers to think about WTMJ these days?
At the very least Hundley’s Twitter feed feels like a missed opportunity at outreach on behalf of WTMJ and her colleagues there in helping define the station for viewers. This and still yet naming a 10 p.m. news anchor add to a sense of detachment that is becoming the station’s identity and Achilles heel.