Posted in journalism, Social Media

How I Used Social Media To Land Newest Local Athletic Star

By Andrew Humphrey, CBM
Founder & Co-Chair, DJTF | Meteorologist & Reporter, WDIV-TV Detroit

After my Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines lost their football games, I searched for a good pick-me-up.  So I read some online newspapers and came across the headline First-Time Runner Wins Detroit Marathon.  That was a grabber, and the following Detroit News story kept me hooked.

What a feel-good story!  The “Detroit Marathon” is actually much more than your run-of-the-mill local or citywide 26.2 mile race.  This run is international; with the only course that crosses the United States-Canada border twice.  It is a one-of-a-kind event, and a first-time marathoner won it.  The winner’s name is Jodan Desilets, 29, from Detroit Area (Pinckney, Michigan).  He attended a Detroit Area university (Eastern Michigan University) and entered the race only within the past two months after being encouraged by his wife after they watched a motivational marathon movie called Spirit Of The Marathon.

His name is unique so at 6pm, the evening immediately after the race, I plugged the name into Facebook’s search engine.  Bingo!  Two results, one of them has a photo of a runner.  One of the best things about Facebook is that non-“Friends” can communicate with each other.  Although Jordan and I were not Facebook “friends,” I could and did message him.  I offered my congratulations, asked if he’d like to wake up early again and be on my show Local 4 News Morning on WDIV-TV, and left my direct office number and email address.  Soon after, I emailed and phoned my morning show team with my idea of having him as a guest.  The executive producer (EP) John Ferracane loved the opportunity.  Now it was a matter of waiting but only for a matter of minutes.

Wouldn’t you know it, the marathon winner and newest athletic celebrity replied.  Jordan Desilets called my work number and left a message and his mobile number with my colleague Brandon Roux.  Brandon quickly relayed the information to me, and I called Jason back right away.  We had a great conversation and he accepted the request to be on WDIV.  I asked if his wife Jamie would appear on the air because she played an important roll in his success.  He said that was no problem.

We were set.  I updated my EP and morning crew, and they were thrilled.  Jason and Jamie Desilets arrived at 5:45 am and were interviewed during our 6am hour.  We were the only station with the live, sit-down interview.  Afterward, the Desilets, my colleagues and the viewers who were or instantly became Jordan’s fans were delighted.  His Facebook friends expressed their pride and joy with their postings on his wall.

So let’s review.  An international story was found on the internet.  The subject was found and contacted directly with social media.  The result was an excellent exclusive interview on local television within twenty-four hours of a victorious achievement in Detroit.  Plus, I gained a new Facebook friend.



Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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