Jake Tapper, anchor of CNN’s daily news magazine “The Lead,” is one of the most active reporters on Twitter (@jaketapper) and is happy to talk about life online.
Zap2it: How has Twitter changed how you cover breaking news?
Jake Tapper: It’s a wire service for news organizations and also a place where non-media can send firsthand accounts of things they’re seeing. The first place I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing was Twitter — a woman sent out a Twitpic of an explosion. Obviously, everything needs to be confirmed and checked out, but it’s irreplaceable as a source of information … some of it bad information, most of it good.
Zap2it: Have questions come in that you think might not have occurred to you if you were not hearing from Twitter users?
Jake Tapper: Yes! Just today, I Tweeted that I would be interviewing the surgeon general about his new report on Hollywood glamorizing smoking, and someone asked about Hollywood glamorizing violence. I asked the surgeon general the question, noting that I’d heard it on Twitter. I’m a collaborative person — it makes me better — and sometimes taking that collaboration to Twitter is helpful.
Zap2it: When is Twitter most useful?
Jake Tapper: It’s most useful as a general news source of information as events occur, keeping me on top of items as soon as they happen.
Zap2it: When is it most disruptive or even destructive?
Jake Tapper: When haters hate. Too many people, many cloaked in anonymity, use social media to insult instead of engage. It’s a wasted opportunity for them.
Zap2it: Can you imagine your life anymore without Twitter?
Jake Tapper: Sure. I’m 44; I remember life before the Internet. But I’m glad we keep evolving.
Zap2it: Biggest Twitter regret?
Jake Tapper: There was a politician who was scandalized whom I used to re-Tweet on occasion, until one tweep asked me to stop. I told him if he gave $100 to a kids charity, I would stop. Then we got others involved. Ultimately we raised $2,800, and I stopped RT-ing the politician in question. My regret is, I should have held out for more!