Samples we looked at are under TwitterSamples

Following: bbctech, Bemidji, BSUNews,current_news, USATODAY, Reuters, CNETNews, foxnews, foxnewsradio, nprnews, bbcbreaking, CBSNews, BreakingNews, cnnbrk, onion.

What we are going to look at.
How does news programs or broadcasters use less than 140 in twitter to explain the news story, and convince us to want to read more.
How they use links and hash tags to convince you to read more on there site, or somewhere else. Purpose of video links versus links to more text.

Audience
People who are on the go and technologically savy, trying to replace the newspaper headlines with tweets. The auidience of twitter is people who like the easyiness, and acessability, and the speed of which you can get news updates automatically.

Delivery time (Kiros)
The delivery time of twitter is instant. Television is updated a couple of times a day, not nearly as often as twitter, which happens every hour or two at the most. Newspaper gives news once a day, and it is often out of date by the time it reaches its viewers the next morning. Radio gives updates every hour on the hour, and in some cases there are news programs that go on all hour. So the two most immediate forms of news are twitter and the radio. (Anthony)
Radio gives there listening audience a five minute update on about (on average from my experience) four to seven different news stories. Twitter gives on average for each news broadcaster about two or three tweets generally about different stories. Sometimes there are as many as five tweets in less than a minute. But by when you are following twelve different news broadcasters at one time on twitter, you can get anywhere around eight to 20 different tweets, in an hour, there is some overlap, but not always. So when you want news updates right away and as often as you can get them, twitter is the fastest and easiest way to get it. Television you have to be home on the couch or at the bar, with the news on the right channel at the right time. The news paper, you either have to subscribe to and have it sent to your home every day or once a week, or go out to the grocery store or gas station and pick it up. The radio, you have to be driving in the car not listening to a CD or you mp3 player, or somewhere you are listen to the radio in the back ground and have to hope it isn’t too loud so can concentrate on the news. With twitter you can check the new tweets anywhere there is a internet connection, or a computer, but you can also check it anywhere you are with your phone. (Anthony)

Some more analysis
News broadcasters don’t really tell the story in twitter, they are more putting a statement, that feels more like a title than a story. This is probably mostly connected to the 140 characters restriction that twitter puts on each post. Which leads to a link in almost every tweet, sending the reader to the source story that the post normally spreads from. The link is normally straight to the news agency, and even more specifically to the written version of the story, but occasionally to a video of a live report or address like the state of the union address. Hash-tags are not very common in news broadcasters, every now and then there will be hash-tag thrown into the sentence like #Green #Education was a couple of examples I found. The purpose of the hash-tag is not very useful to the majority of the news broadcasters, because it just leads to more tweets form other people, they want the reader to come specifically back to their home page and read more. (Anthony)

News broadcasters don’t try to build repor, with the audience they are just trying to get them to read more on there website, which makes the links they include very important to them. They try to give the reader just a small taste, and get them to want the whole thing. (Anthony)

Twitter has such a wide diversity of people who follow news agencies, so they try to be universal and non-biased (like they are suppose to do). So some times they branch out to people, or stories or updates that you wouldn’t normally here from someone like usatoday, : 'Marvel vs. Capcom 3' confirmed; watch the trailer, this isn’t the normal news story on the 9 o’clock news or the front page of the news paper. They try to branch out to new audiences, with the same purpose, to get people to come back to there home web page, and read the story. (Anthony)

The usage of punctuation in twitter differs from that of a newspaper. Many of the time there is no final ending punctuation, to their tweets. The sentence leads straight into a link. Then other times they improperly use things like the semi-colon, but there might be a reason. The usage of punctuation in news tweets is to create a pause for the reader, to get them to slow down and pay attention to the tweet, and click on the link. Sometimes it is to divide up multiple headlines in one tweet, there are very few complete sentences in the tweets, but when there are they are short five to ten word sentences. Sometimes they are just quotes with out the “” or they sum up a quote followed by a dash and who it was. Example: (FLASH: Explosions that hit Bangkok's business district were M-79 grenades -Army spokesman). It doesn’t seem to be a new style that is developed, but it is an adaptation of the normally use of punctuation that is serving the writer’s purpose. The word usage of these news agencies is not short hand, but full words. This is to maintain the credibility that all of these major news broadcasters already have coming into twitter, because of other media means (newspaper, tv, radio). Most people know that CNN or Fox News or BBC News are know for creditable news stories and updates, so by using that name in twitter they don't have to spend time building ethos, they are relying on existing ethos. Then they are just trying to maintain that image of who is posting to the audience and there credibility. (Anthony)

Observations on how news articles use twitter.
One thing that almost every news broadcaster that uses twitter has in common is the fact that they use a link in almost every tweet. The link normally sends the viewer to the home page of the article they are tweeting about, unless it is an breaking news story. Then the link generally goes to on the ground video, or a quick blog from the news reporter about what is happening on he ground. The tweet is very often the title of the article, or the first line of the article, followed by the link to the article. Sometimes the tweet will not only be about one article, it will be the title of two, then a link to the news broadcasters main web page where there are further links to the articles. Sometimes there are tweets that you wouldn’t expect from major news agencies, like USA Today “Marvel vs Capcon 3’Conformed; watch the trailer” then there is a link to the trailer. Tweets reported by the news isn’t always a major event. (Anthony)

Since the Twitter medium can be reached by everyone for free, it is a way for others to receive this otherwise pointless news articles. Such stories that would have been cut from the paper format can now be Tweeted instead, so that they have the ability to cover more stories all the time, rather than deciding what is important enough to make it into todays paper. (Zach)

Exigence:
An exigence is something that happens which gives rise to a need for communication. This is a very large part of why news broadcasters function in twitter, because something in the news happens, and they have a need to communicate it to their audience. Almost every tweet has a different exigency, because there is something that is causing them. For example from: Breaking News BBC. “Supreme Court strikes down law aimed at banning videos that show graphic violence against animals; says it violates right to free speech.” The exigence of this tweet is that someone passed a law that bans showing graphic violence against animals. Which led to someone suing the law for being a violation of free speech. Which then led to the Supreme Court reviewing and ultimately striking down the law. Causing BBC Breaking News to report this news to all of its audiences on twitter. (Anthony)

OBSERVATION: The 140 character limit is a huge factor in defining the rhetoric of Twitter. The site is apparently intended as a "microblogging" service where people can post what they're doing at the time and share random thoughts, but the format is just barely too short for effectively conveying this information. Thus, the site seems to be limited to one of two applications: as a sort of link-sharing service (which is what some of the news outlets we've been following do) or as a microblogging site only for those who have been involved in the community enough to learn the jargon, contractions, and neologisms.

SOME MORE OBSERVATIONS: Some of the tweets don't have links to stories, these are usually signified with a "breaking news" tag, which indicates that the station just found out about them and hadn't had time to write an article yet. I wonder if these are posted by reporters in the field, through different channels than those used by whoever writes the "regular" tweets? Also, I noticed that most of the time, when the tweet links to a video or audio player that automatically starts, the writers will put a warning like [video] in the tweet so that those with slow connections know not to bother clicking. A good way to maintain public relations. To stay within the character limit, many of the tweets forgo punctuation.
Tweets without links tend to be updates on previous news articles as well. Rather than constantly linking to the same article, the Tweets are used as updates that would otherwise be added to the article periodically, and not allow the readers to realize that there has been an update to the story. Link-less tweets are also associated with breaking news that has no article yet. If the article is being written at the time, a quick Tweet can be sent on the breaking news itself, so the news agency can be the first to get the information out there, rather than wait for the writers to finish the entire article. (Zach)


IDEA: It's interesting how well the twitter format works in regards to newspaper article titles. The average news twitter is a catchy title and a link to a longer article, which exists to catch the reader's attention and lead them in. This is basically how the article title works in real life, and journalists have had decades to figure out how to effectively make short messages to catch the reader's attention, so in a sense, Twitter is an ideal medium for modern journalism.

Timing seems to be important in the news tweets, specifically how quickly the various news posters put up breaking stories in relation to each other. Punctuality is important, as the faster the channel gets the story up, the better they will be viewed by the public. People are more likely to follow the channel that seems to have the fastest reporting, as the whole idea behind twitter is that it's fast and easy to access.

EXIGENCE: The newscasters become aware of something that needs to be said, either something really important (Thars a volcano up thar!) or something trivial that nevertheless attracts attention (Marvel vs Capcom 3 announced!)
With Twitter being a free service, the news agencies actually save money by informing people this way, rather than taking the time to publish it into print. This allows them to post about things that would be considered not important enough to make it into the paper as well. (Zach)

THOUGHT: Twitter news posts, and newswriting in general, is almost always Epideictic (ceremonial), and almost never Forensic or Deliberative in pursuit of journalistic integrity and neutrality.

ANOTHER THOUGHT: Though newstweets are almost too short for any sort of arrangement to take place (beyond the order the headline and link come in, which doesn't seem to have much of an impact on the rhetorical message), the occasional tweet that has more than one headline would have a Topical arrangement of sorts, with the more interesting headlines coming first or last, depending on what the rhetor thinks would catch the reader's eye best.

CREDIBILITY AS A MEANS OF PERSUASION: The tweets are mostly from established news sources, which coupled with their (usually) professional and skillful assembly means that people are much more likely to treat stories espoused by them as "news" rather than "rumors" if some random person were to say the same thing. Although I don't know what else the news sites could name their twitter feeds besides "Fox News" and "Reuters," so who knows if this was intentional or just a given.
Official tweets can be verified by Twitter itself, but most of the news companies have a link in their profile that connects the users to their official website. By seeing that the tweets are linked to the official website, credibility is passed onto the user via Tweets and the company's profile on Twitter. (Zach)
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