Look North boss – Twitter key to getting viewers involved with stories

Sarah Goldthorpe, Sport and News producer at Look North

Sarah Goldthorpe, Sport and News producer at Look North

BBC Look North Assistant Editor Sarah Goldthorpe has today told students that Twitter is probably her biggest source of stories and contacts.

When Look North posted a picture of missing student Megan Roberts it resulted in nearly 3 million people seeing the image. Megan, from Wetherby, West Yorkshire, disappeared in the early hours of January 23 after a night out at the Popworld nightclub in York.

Look North were also able to get to the heart of another story – about an alleged killer on the loose – by interacting with people who were tweeting about it.

Sarah told students an early morning scan of Facebook and Twitter is a useful way of newsgathering, with cameras being deployed to heavily flooded areas during the recent floods in York.

She said: “We have a plasma screen with a Twitter feed of all the most useful sources. We constantly watch it so we know what’s going on.”

Sarah, speaking at Journalism Week, started in the regional press, including roles at the Huddersfield Examiner and The Sheffield Star, before making the leap into TV. She believes exclusive stories, originality and hard work played a vital role in her move into broadcasting.

Sarah advised that the best stories come from knowing people, she said: “Contacts are key, get to know the local characters who know what’s going on.”

When her sister’s dog, Lucy, got an allergic reaction from grass and had to be walked wearing red wellies, she did a story on it which was picked up nationally.

She said: “The Daily Mail loved it, Look North loved it. Different stories get you noticed.”

Advising students on how to break into the industry, Sarah added: “Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do – just get up and do it. One really important skill is video skills and we really encourage that. Film at the scene, footage is priceless.

“Twitter is probably the biggest sources of stories and contacts.”

Sarah’s entire talk:

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