The AP’s David Bauder takes a look at coverage of the government shutdown, noting the crisis “taught some reporters new benefits of virtually instant communications.” CNN’s Dana Bash and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell told Bauder social media was crucial to their reports during the three weeks the government was closed:
Social media was a big help, O’Donnell said. She would hear from people outside the Capitol cocoon through Twitter and email, with many raising questions she used in her reporting. She was asked how the shutdown would affect Social Security or back pay for government workers. NBC used a “dearcongress” hashtag on Twitter to encourage questions.
“That was a real-time experience of the shutdown that did not compare to anything in a crisis that we had covered before,” O’Donnell said.[…] In the past, Bash said she’d often need to plead with producers for time off the air to report. In this case, it wasn’t really necessary: Her sources would text, tweet or email information while she was on the air. When President Barack Obama spoke to the nation on Thursday, Bash had instant reaction from several Republicans minutes after he left the podium.