(Note: this is the second part of a two-part interview with CNN)
Rick Sanchez is an anchor and contributor for CNN and CNN en Español. He’s live on the air every day from 3:00pm – 4:00pm ET in an audience-driven, interactive hour about the day’s top news. You can get involved in the show by following him on Twitter and checking out his blog. This past week Rick was to take a quick break from his tweeting to answer a few questions about the show:
RaceTalk: CNN has really started to separate itself from other news outlets through its involvement in Twitter. What triggered this involvement?
Rick Sanchez: A need to be more connected to our viewing audience triggered this. We needed to hear what’s on their minds and illustrate it in real time. The idea is to reach out to potential viewers where they live, on the internet.
RaceTalk: Many people at CNN, including both of you, have been very active on Twitter. How have you found this experience, and how much interactions have you had with your followers?
RS: It is a smart audience that makes me smarter, and makes me a better journalist. It’s like having 50 thousand editors, that’s how many people follow me and I talk to. I even bumped into one at the airport while passing through security. The TSA agent recognized me and said the immortal words: I twitter with you.
RaceTalk: How has your use of Twitter evolved over your show, and is it different then what you expected heading into it?
RS: Twitter is now used before the show to learn public interest on particular news topics; it’s also used on-air during developing stories or press conferences or breaking news to illustrate immediate reaction to these events. It’s all about immediate feedback.
RaceTalk: How many tweets do you usually receive for each show, and how do you go about vetting through all of them?
RS: Usually hundreds, but sometimes reaches up to a thousand tweets daily. Producers and I read through all tweets before they air to avoid foul language, and we aim for balance when possible.
RaceTalk: In what ways do you see the show continuing to evolve with Twitter, and do you have any future plans that you can share with us?
RS: No, if I told you what our plans are, I’d have to kill you. Stay tuned!
RaceTalk: From a news angle, what part of Twitter do you think is more important – a way to distribute news quickly to a large audience, or way to drive people to CNN.com?
RS: It really makes the show more or of a conversation, as opposed to a speech. It’s the next generation. And it’s here.
RaceTalk: Is there anything else you’d like to add that people should be aware of?
RS: Yes, I’m now going to interact on my twitter page and with my daily blog at cnn.com/ricksanchez. Come on over and visit.