How to fast-track tweets to BreakingNews

Since we started experimenting with a way for publishers to tip our editors at and @breakingnews, we’ve published hundreds of links from news organizations large and small.  We now have 160 news organizations participating, spanning newspaper sites (Washington Post), wire services (Reuters), TV stations (all affiliations), web-only enterprises (Huffington Post) and even a few niche news sites (Politico.) 

Why participate?

BreakingNews is an innovative startup inside msnbc’s digital network that strives to reward publishers for breaking original news stories.  We link original stories directly with credit, moments after they break.  The result is a burst of traffic and a jump-start on social media distribution in an increasingly competitive world of attention.  We send over 100,000 referrals to news organizations and social services on a daily basis.

Our Twitter account is one of the largest, not to mention the rapid expansion of and our iPhone, Android and Windows 7 mobile apps.  We’re also on Facebook, Tumblr and we’re in the top 80 Google+ accounts in the world.  In each case, we link the source directly without hijacking a page view in between.

How does it work? 

First, we have to whitelist your news organization’s Twitter account.  For now, we’re limiting whitelisted accounts to news organizations that cover breaking news that’s of interest to a regional, national or global audience.  We’re currently not accepting individual journalist accounts, and we’re not including neighborhood blogs or lifestyle sites. To whitelist an account, drop us a note with your name, email and news organization’s Twitter handle.

Once you’re whitelisted, just include #breaking, #breakingnews or @breakingnews anywhere in a breaking news tweet:

Within two minutes, your tweet appears in the right column of the home page, which helps elevate your story above the thousands of tweets, email alerts, RSS updates and video feeds we monitor.  Our editors are at the helm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they watch the submitted news column for stories to promote to our main channels.

What kind of breaking stories?

We’re looking for original breaking news stories with regional or greater interest.  We try to avoid truly local news stories, and we’re careful to not favor one news organization over another (even if it’s our corporate parent).  As you can see above, we’re also interested in live video coverage (or social media photos or videos) of breaking news.

Our goal is to identify the first instance of the story, although in reality, sometimes we publish the first original instance of the story that we see.  This is why the fast-tracking program is important for publishers to jump above the fray.

Where are the links published?

We publish the full “firehose” of links on and our mobile apps — about 100 to 200 a day.  Larger stories are also published on Twitter (50 to 60) and at a lower frequency on Facebook, Google Plus and Tumblr.  The biggest stories — perhaps once a day — are simultaneously published everywhere, including a push alert on our mobile apps.

Any questions?

Feel free to drop us a note, and we’re glad to answer any questions!

(Post by Cory Bergman, @corybe on Twitter.)

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