WJLA reporter Stephen Tschida found himself in the middle of a breaking news story last week while on an Amtrak train trip from Washington D.C. to New York City. Downed power lines caused the train to get stuck on the tracks outside of Perryville, MD on Thursday evening, beginning what would become a tortuous 11-hour ordeal.
Tschida, who has been with the D.C. ABC-affiliate since 2002, used Twitter to report on the train’s progress. Tschida’s flurry of tweets throughout the night brought national attention to the broken down train and made him something of an internet celebrity, literally overnight.
The tweets began with the ominous announcement “En route phili. Train broke down. Terrrible, cold, no info. Better get what can from cafe. Looks like long night ahead.”
“As a journalist, you feel compelled to share information so that’s what I was doing,” Tschida told WJLA anchor Julie Parker via phone on Friday. He was shocked to find that his string of anxious updates had brought him hundreds of concerned followers on Twitter.
The train eventually arrived at its destination a little after 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning. Tschida signed off after the ordeal, tweeting, “Home, in bed. Under blankets with warm puppy. Ordeal over, sleep, tomorrow laugh. Story at 11 on ABC 7.”
Here’s WJLA’s report about the 11-hour train ride and Tschida’s manic use of Twitter…