Station ditching traditional newscasts for Twitter

A Pennsylvania television station has announced it will cease producing traditional newscasts and switch completely to using Twitter to distribute news.

The station is planning to use the Twitter handle @PennaNews to distribute a rapid-fire series of tweets during the times the station currently broadcasts news, such as 6 to 6:30 p.m. The station will also update the feed during non-newscast times as well with weather alerts and breaking news.

Viewers tuning in to the station’s over-the-air and cable signal will, instead of the traditonal mix of anchors, video and graphics, see a text-only stream of the latest news and updates from around the region.

The station will eliminate all of its on-air and production staff and instead rely on “twanchors,” two college students powered by an endless supply of Mountain Dew, who will be responsible for feeding content for all newscasts.

The station will also maintain separate Twitter accounts for its weather and sports departments and even plans to engage in “happy talk” between the accounts using Twitter’s “at reply” feature. According to station insiders, the same two “twanchors” will maintain these accounts as well, something the station itself will not confirm.

In addition to news tweets, the station will also include “commercial breaks” on its Twitter feed, allowing local businesses to tweet messages to followers. One of the first advertisers to sign on is Jim’s Used Car Lot, whose owner, Jim Smith, is expected to allow his children to tweet barely-understandable messages.

The new format will also allow the station to rent out its existing studio space, which will be converted to a Blimpies sub shop. Blimpies has indicated it intends to hire as many of the displaced station staffers as possible.

To see the Twitter feed, click here.

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