NBC's Brian Williams is the quintessential news anchor for the digital age — plugged in, always on and savvy about the latest apps and gadgets.
But don't ask him to Tweet.
"I have 160,000 Twitter followers having never said one word," he says.
Williams is anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News, TV's highest-rated newscast, and theRock Center news magazine, which airs Fridays. With smartphone and tablet apps for both shows and a big social-media presence, Williams is charged with bringing the TV news audience into the digital age.
USA Today sat down with him on set at Rockefeller Center to talk about his experience at the center of the dramatic changes in broadcast news.
"I have a Web-based job," he says, "night-and-day different" from the days of anchors Chet Huntley, David Brinkley and Tom Brokaw.
"It used to be, you said your piece, probably knocked down a few Manhattans with your staff, and then talked to the masses the next day. If somebody wrote you a letter, there was a two-to-three-day delay time. Now the conversation starts when I say good evening. Our Twitter deck is being monitored in the control room. It is a constant conversation."
Williams says he doesn't do personal Twitter or Facebook pages because he hasn't found the time to curate them, and skips reading social-media mentions of himself because "you'd have no time for anything else, you'd have no self esteem, and you'd never leave the house."
So what Apps does BriWi like?
"I'm a hopeless nerd. I have a great app, theBravest (a New York City fire department scanner feed). I can listen to real-time scanner traffic. I love SkyView (free), which is basically an app that explains the constellations and tracks the International Space Station and the Hubble Telescope. I get push alerts from a great site (and app) calledSatellite Flybys ($2.99) when the International Space Station is going to fly by my ZIP code. If it's a summer night, there's nothing cooler than seeing this thing, the brightest dot in the sky, watch it fly over your head. It's something you don't see every day." He also likes Height Finder (free) to tell what your height is above sea level wherever you are,Google Earth and photo apps Color Splash (99 cents) and Snapseed (free).
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