As I opened this new post I started to monitor a fire west of the station, over 20-minutes away, in Jefferson County. I entered the title and stopped writing to focus on the fire. I checked all sources that could possibly also be monitoring the fire and found none. Not knowing if I'm the only assignment editor in the city listening to the fire, I had to decide what, if anything, to post on Twitter. I chose to post nothing at first.

This was the right decision. For less than ten minutes I listened to the difficulties the fire crews were having: downed power lines, burned out stairway, etc. Then I heard, "one suspect in custody, request police assistance." At that I immediately shouted out to the producers that this is a fire we need to cover. In minutes I had a photographer out the door and editors on stand-by to help out with other stories being put together for the 10pm news. My goal was to have coverage of this fire and to have two reporter live shots in the 10pm.

Still there was nothing I could find on this fire. It was possible that I was the only desk moving to cover this fire. I couldn't put anything out on Twitter that gave this information to competing media.

Finally I posted this Tweet: "just when I thought we'd reached breaking news quota: West Metro Fire PIO confirms active structure fire.Crews having hard time accessing it"

I chose to Tweet because I had confirmed information, but I didn't give too much information away. I had the location of the fire. I confirmed a suspect was in custody. Also, the photographer was well on his way to the scene. If there was anything exclusive to get on the fire, we were in good shape.

At 8:28pm the media pager, and @scancolorado on Twitter, sent alerts on the fire. I also sent a Tweet with more information, but no more information than what these sources had. I'm almost sure every station in the city uses the media pager. I knew I no longer had this on my own, but I still had more details than the alerts sent out. At 8:46pm another media page came out giving the correct address of the fire. I followed with another Tweet adding that information for anyone following me. I still kept other details to myself.

Then I saw it. A 9pm newscast on another network had a live report on the fire. At that point I put out all I had confirmed and heard on the scanner on Twitter.

I think about news integrity and exclusivity all the time when I post.

There was no thought to the real SECRET I kept from Twitter today, though. Around 4pm I answered a phone call from the Denver Police Public Information Officer, "Misty, who's in charge of the newsroom today? Is Wieland (news director) there?" I knew then something was up. As the news director hung up the phone, I was called into his office. I found out one of the news crews had literally walked into the middle of a SWAT situation.

The reporter had apparently just called and spoken to the executive producer and said that a plain-clothes detective stopped them and told them they were in the line of fire and needed to move to safety. The crew was following a homicide investigation from four days ago. They were headed to the crime scene, a 7-11 when they were stopped. Police wouldn't confirm it, but said SWAT was near on a possible connection to the homicide.

We didn't need any more than that to know what could possibly unfold. First priority was to move the crew to safety. Second priority was to get a live truck to the scene. What was not a priority was Twitter. In the rush of movement and preparation for possible breaking news I even said jokingly, "this is NOT something we Twitter!"

Joking or not, it was the absolute truth. We were the only media with the information. SWAT moved us to a specific location so not to bust their cover. Beyond protecting exclusive news, we had to think of the safety of the SWAT team who was moving in on an unsuspecting, possibly armed, suspect.

Even after the arrest happened and the crew shot video of the suspect in custody, I waited to Tweet until I knew we'd get the reporter on live during the 6:30pm newscast. I was still protecting exclusivity. Then, I found out a photographer from another station, on his way home from work, noticed the road block so he also shot video of the suspect! ARGH! Still, I wouldn't have changed anything knowing this.

One other conscious decision I made was to continue to Tweet other news, other conversations, just so I wasn't SILENT on Twitter to where it would be noticed. I have been asked before by followers where I am when I don't Twitter, or if I'm doing okay because I haven't sent many Tweets. So I know even my silence says something, and I have to be aware of that as well!

I can't tell you what a relief it was to Tweet about the situation when I could. I'd been on the news desk ready to move crews if needed and concerned for safety of everyone involved. I wanted to share, but I had to keep a SECRET from Twitter!