Charles Gasparino of Fox Business Network Had NYC Marathon Scoop on Twitter

Today's cuppa: cappuccino

Charlie-Gasparino.jpgThere used to be a thing called the 24-hour news cycle, but these days, it may be more like the 24-minute news cycle, or even the 24-second news cycle. That's especially true when you look at Twitter, where a single tweet can be picked up and re-tweeted around the world in seconds and minutes, especially among members of the news media.

That's what happened on Friday, Nov. 2, when FBN senior correspondent Charles Gasparino had something to say on Twitter about the New York City Marathon originally scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4, which the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy threw into doubt.

The tweet (the time stamp is in Pacific time, because HCTV is) caused some immediate reaction, which the outspoken Gasparino answered:

Thumbnail image for Charles Gasparino (CGasparino) on Twitter.pngAs this report from Website Twitchy shows, the news traveled quickly around the Twittersphere, with media either citing Gasparino's tweet or the TV report it promoted.

While the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially said the race was still on -- amid a deluge of complaints about storm-recovery assets being diverted for a sporting event -- Tribune/Los Angeles Times D.C. Bureau reporter Mike Memoli subsequently tweeted:
MemoliTweet.pngShortly afterward, NBC Nightly News tweeted confirmation of the cancellation, citing a report from the network's New York City affiliate, WNBC.Channel 4.

HCTV shot off some questions to Gasparino today about his scoop and what social media means to his reporting:

How did you, a business reporter, manage to snag the scoop that the NYC Marathon was canceled?

I learned early on that all the large banks have sources throughout government, even on the local level and particularly in New York. Most of their security staff is from the New York Police Department, and further, they all sponsor events like the NYC marathon. This is how I was able to break the news back in 2010 that Tiger Woods was making a comeback; it came from a bank that he did charity work for. Therefore, when questions began to swirl about the marathon I called some people who are generally in-the-know and got the inside story.

Why release it on Twitter, rather than on the air or in a blog post?

It all happened relatively fast, but what I did was tweet a quick line foreshadowing my report and saying that I would be going on FBN momentarily to provide more details about the story. I use Twitter as a way to preview my FBN hits;  my Twitter page has a strong following of investors, traders, assorted Wall Street types and journalists, so it gets good traction.

What role does social media play overall in your newsgathering and reporting efforts?

It's significant in terms of promoting my reports and encouraging tune-in. It has also helped in terms of tips, but nothing beats good old-fashioned reporting when you call a lot of people and put together stories.

What role should especially Twitter play during tomorrow's election?

I don't think it should play a role per se; it functions best as a conduit of ideas. One of Twitter's negative aspects, however, is that critics often attack you personally instead of attacking your ideas. That's one of the problems with the web - because of anonymity, people feel safe to say the most vile stuff. Still, the downside is only at the margins. Twitter, like other social media, is a great way to communicate.

How do you see social media changing the news landscape over the next year or two (one hesitates to even think further out than that)?

I can see social media becoming a news service--Twitter already is; the objective for Twitter, Facebook, etc. is to advertise stories and drive traffic to websites or channels but it also acts as a newsfeed all by itself.

Where will you be on Election Day tomorrow?

Tomorrow I will be live from FBN's headquarters in NYC doing breaking news hits all day and throughout the evening during FBN's special election coverage that kicks off at 5PM/ET.