Television news reporting is a lot like detective work. We knock on doors. Ask questions. And like a good gumshoe, follow our instinct. We chase one clue after another.
But technology has changed the game.
I started out today looking for a local angle on Hurricane Irene. This massive storm was taking dead aim on the east coast.
Millions of people were being evacuated. In order to find a local angle, I sent out a message on Twitter.
The staff at KGW.com also tweeted that we wanted to find someone local impacted by this hurricane. Within just a few minutes, someone responded. We traded a few messages. Then they sent an email detailing their situation.
A husband and wife from Hood River were visiting their son in North Carolina. They planned to ride out the storm in a Holiday Inn Express. After touching base by cell phone, we made arrangements to do an interview via Skype.
They described how they were dealing with the situation. I also asked them to give us a virtual tour of their surroundings by walking around with their laptop.
They volunteered to keep us posted on the storm with digital photos and video. Sure enough, a few hours after our conversation, they sent a video clip showing the approaching storm. It's pretty incredible how technology has changed the way we cover news.
Don’t get me wrong. Reporting still requires hard working journalists to hit the streets, knock on doors and ask questions. But we are now able to reach a greater number of potential sources and gather information like never before.