Live tweeting is the new ‘Honey, get me rewrite’

The New Haven Register first used “live tweeting” in a big way during the triple-murder trial of Steven Hayes in 2010.

Today, the practice is routine among its reporters, and in some cases has replaced the old system of a reporter dictating details of an important breaking news story by phone to an editor back at the office.

When two East Haven police officers appeared in federal court February 14 on charges of harassing and racially profiling Latino residents, reporter Mark Zaretsky live-tweeted the details. In addition to readers who follow Zaretsky’s Twitter account to keep up with East Haven, also following along back in the New Haven newsroom was Managing Editor Mark Brackenbury.

In real time, Brackenbury used Zaretsky’s tweets to continuously update a story about the court appearance on the New Haven Register’s home page.

The effect was to provide one of the fastest-reported breaking news stories imaginable.

For other stories, including the trial this past year of Hayes’ co-defendant in the triple murder case, the Register has used Cover It Live to embed a reporter’s Tweet stream, basically providing a live blog of the event.


About mattderienzo

Matt DeRienzo has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter, editor, publisher and corporate editorial director and has been recognized nationally for leading newsroom innovation. He teaches journalism at Quinnipiac University, writes a monthly column for Editor & Publisher magazine, and serves as interim executive director of LION Publishers, a national network of local independent online news site publishers. Previously, he served as group editor of Digital First Media's publications in Connecticut, including the New Haven Register, Middletown Press, Register Citizen and Connecticut Magazine, and Northeast regional editor for Digital First Media. He also served as publisher of The Register Citizen, Middletown Press and a group of weeklies in Northwest Connecticut, and before that was corporate director of news for small dailies and non-daily publications for the former Journal Register Company. In early 2011, The Register Citizen was named one of Editor & Publisher magazine's "10 Newspapers That Do It Right," and DeRienzo was named to its annual "25 Under 35" list of leaders in the newspaper industry. In the fall of 2011, The Register Citizen was awarded the Associated Press Managing Editors Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe, an "open newsroom" launched in Torrington, Connecticut, in December 2010. He led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in late 2012 and 2013, and has been honored for his editorial writing and leadership of public service and investigative reporting. In 2014, his efforts at the New Haven Register were recognized with the APME's and ASNE's Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity. DeRienzo is a former longtime board member of the United Way of Northwest Connecticut, and served as co-chairman of the United Way's annual fundraising campaign in 2009 and again in 2011. In 2011, he received the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.
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