Make a plan for “Watching the Detectives”

It’s growing clear to me that on a major story, covering the coverage is not a nice to have, it’s an essential. As Steve Outing noted in a recent Twitter Tweet, people in news events increasingly “most won’t alert news orgs anymore; they tell their ‘friends’ (via social networks). Up to news orgs to track “

I had an example at hand the very same day Outing wrote that.

An early Monday morning breach of a fly ash containment pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority”s Kingston Steam Plant west of Knoxville sent 1.7 million cubic yards (wait a couple of hours and TVA will re-revise this revised estimate again) of fly ash muck and water across the countryside into more than a dozen homes.

On Tuesday, I noticed Amy Gahran finding all sorts of interesting links beyond The News Sentinel’s own extensive coverage even through for the most part until late Tuesday evening, the story was off the radar of the big national TV networks and newspapers. She was rounding up coverage by environmentalist, local news organizations and a host of others. Gahran was finding good stuff and people were joining in.

And as Outing said, people were telling their friends through blog posts or like, Luke Hall, posting great photos on Facebook.

We started adding links to our own content and developments to her Twitter hashtag effort and started a “link journalism” collection using Publish2 (some call it Delicious for Journalists). The links we are saving in Publish2 are used in a  “story” that is being frequently updated.

The results have enriched the News Sentinel’s coverage. Do you have your “Watching the Detectives” plan in place?