Here's one of the problems with social media and how TV stations use it.
It's kind of like watching how they make sausage, after you see it, you never want to eat it.
Before social media, a TV station might get a tip of police activity and send a crew to the scene. If it turned out to be nothing, it was no big deal and just a small waste of time.
Now, with social media, stations alert viewers to unconfirmed reports, many times before a news crew is even on the scene.
Here are two different "police investigations" tweeted out by the folks at KNXV in Phoenix:
It turns out that one was a suicide and the other turned out to be nothing.
The problem is, because neither one was "a story" the station just went on their way, but never followed up on Twitter.
Certainly, the people who live and or travel in these areas would like to know more about these "police investigations" after being alerted by their local news station.
Unfortunately they were stuck trying to track down the information themselves.
A good rule is, forget being first and worry more about being right. Also, if you are going to tweet something out and it turns out to be bogus, follow up with another tweet saying just that.
Of course, that could turn your station into the "boy that cried wolf", but at least you are following up.
Update: Sign did email FTVLive to say that he did update that the story was nothing.
We you do update a story, it is a good idea to do it in the reply of the original story, that way people that are asking question no where to look for the replay. You can post the same thing in a new tweet and a reply, to cover all the basis.
Also, might be unwise to use the word "first" an an unconfirmed story that turns out to be nothing. Although, being "first" to report nothing is a great idea of TV consultants, it doesn't really work in the real world.