The Sincerest Form Of Flattery?

By Chris Ariens 

Wait. This may be a first. Is the New York Times now picking up on stories first seen on a television news broadcast?

For years TV News producers have been criticized for formulating stories for their broadcasts based on what’s in that day’s paper, on the local level and the national level. (I know, because I was one of them). For the networks, that meant the occasional pick-up from The New York Times.

But this morning, there’s a story about how big companies are listening to their customers by reading their blogs or by using the social networking tool Twitter. Here’s a portion from the Times piece by Brian Stelter:

Comcast is not the only company trying to reach out to customers online. Using the social messaging service Twitter, Southwest Airlines answers customer questions about ticket prices and flight delays, Whole Foods Market posts details about discounts, and the chief executive of the online shoe store Zappos shares details of his life with 7,200 “followers.” Many other companies also monitor online discussion groups.

Correspondent Mike Von Fremd reported a very similar on World News Tuesday night. Here’s a part of Von Fremd’s piece:

People are logging on to Twitter to share what’s on their minds, giving someone like Tracey an incredibly powerful bullhorn. Among those listening? Corporate America. Comcast, Southwest Airlines, Jetblue, Kodak, and Dell are just a few of the companies that now monitor Twitter. They are aggressively protecting their brand.

Coincidence? Maybe. But this might just bring some comfort to you TVNewsers criticized for taking too many leads from the old Gray Lady.

> Udpdate: Well, it appears Stelter has had this story in the works for a month. He uses (what else?) Twitter to update his followers:

JasonChupick@brianstelter on A1, nice!

brianstelter@jasonchupick thanks! I filed it before going on vacation and now it looks like I never left.

Another emailer tells us the Times’ sister publication the Boston Globe had a similar story earlier this month. So maybe ABC got the idea from the Globe?