Hats off to a Tweeting hack

Having experienced magazine envy last week, today I experienced envy of another kind.

Latika Bourke is a political reporter for 3AW, a radio station based in Melbourne.

Her job is to while away her hours hangin’ out in the Parliament building in Canberra, covering all the goings on in the senate and house of representatives.

And pretty good at it she is too – so good in fact, that a few months ago she was named young political reporter of the year.
Latika pretty much won be over straight away – not just because of her snazzy dress sense, but because, unprompted, she started telling me how useful Twitter was to her work.

I’m always bangin’ on about how much I love using Twitter for finding stories, contacts and talking to readers, so it was good to hear how someone in a different branch of the media utilises it.

Firstly, Latika uses Twitter to grow her ‘brand’, giving her followers a glimpse of her life so they feel like they get to know her and trust her. That way, when she Tweets a work-based story they are more likely to see her as a credible source and follow any links she posts.

She also uses it to monitor reader response so she knows what interests them, what angles she should take and what readers want to know.

Latika isn’t the only Canberra-based political journo using Twitter either – pretty much every member of the reporting pool uses it to follow trends, find stories and hunt out contacts.

Therefore, Latika says, it should make perfect sense for farm organisations to use it too so they can become part of that information and contact source.

So the envy? Well, Latika does have a pretty cool job – she was rushing back to the house after our meeting to cover the delayed universal broadband bill – but my jealousy is one I obviously share with former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

If only I could get away with wearing a fedora in FW Towers.

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