I was sick and at home for almost a full week. Watching the news was one of the last things I wanted to do. I wanted to watch chick flicks, reruns of my favorite shows, and catch up on all the shows episodes that sat for months on the DVR. Yet, I am a bit addicted to the news. I couldn’t stay away from it, but I rarely turned the TV to it. I got almost all the news from Twitter and facebook.

No, I didn’t just read tweets or status updates and take those posts for truths. I let those posts guide me. Once I read something that interested me, I searched it out on the Internet. Better yet, I clicked the links the posts shared. I then clicked on links within those stories and blogs so I could expand the information, sort through the details, etc.

I don’t own a laptop and the iMac is all the way downstairs so I used my cell phone, which isn’t a smart phone, to do most of my news searching and gathering. I didn’t mind the little screen at all, even though my head pounded endlessly. (The energy that it would have taken to go down seven steps to the computer was too much and hurt more than looking at the cell phone screen!) My phone gave me access to the Internet and that’s all I needed.

The only time I watched the news on the TV and the computer was during the balloon boy saga, while there was urgency to rescue a small boy and before the balloon came down. Once the balloon was down and there was no child in it, I only turned on the news again during a press conference where the Sheriff announced the boy had been found safe in the house. After that, I followed the rest of the developments completely through Twitter, facebook and various news Web sites.

I have never pursued news in this way before. I knew it was possible and that many do this, but I work in TV and I am used to flipping, watching, comparing various newscasts. (I’m not allowed to watch the news when I visit family in Nebraska. I’m apparently annoying when I get caught up in checking all the local newscasts and commenting out loud.) TV is such a part of me that I don’t even think about going first, and never only, to the Internet to watch the news. I go to the Internet to see the written articles, read the comments and view the videos. Honestly, the lag time it takes to get some stories on the Web, annoys me. I’d rather watch it on the TV than to wait for it to be uploaded to a station Web site.

I have no doubt that while I used the Internet only for news for days that I missed stories, but I say the same daily when I work IN the news. So much happens that one person can never truly keep up with all the local, national, and international news. I’m not bothered by the fact that I missed some news. Frankly, I know anything I missed that I shouldn’t have will continue to have life as the story develops and eventually I’ll find it. I’ll catch up on the background of the stories and move on with them. This is how I’ve always handled news stories.

I don’t have the answers as how to traditional news needs to work with the Internet, but I do know if traditional outlets don’t aggressively go after the vast opportunities on the Web, they will lose and they will no longer be relevant. I believe media needs to be using social networks and their Web sites to connect with and interact with consumers. Creating relationships with consumers is how you will keep your business alive. News isn’t dying. People want information. However, now the relationship is no longer just the anchors and reporters that you invite into your home a few times a day to tell you the news. The relationship is real with actual conversations and interaction with those coming to you for the news. Find ways to create these relationships, and you’ll stay relevant.

Now that I have just spent a week solely using Internet for news I do have two wishes that aren’t about relationships, but about the product:
• Live streamed newscasts
• Quicker turnaround on getting stories and video on the Web
Do these two things and I’ll turn to you before I turn to any other Web site for news.