Reporting on Dr. King's dream in 2013

By ‎@smfrogers‎
Thursday, 29 August 2013

News organizations convened on Twitter to debate the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech — and share the nation’s collective hopes, feelings and, yes, #dreams for the future. But how did they do it?

The celebration in Washington included speeches by President @BarackObama, former presidents @billclinton and Jimmy Carter, @Oprah, and others, and dominated the news cycle.

On the 50th anniversary of #IHaveADream, news orgs told the story with Twitter.

News organizations posted callouts on Twitter, asking people to share their thoughts about Dr. King’s historic speech and the day’s commemorative events. A selection follows.

A call to action
A number of news outlets asked their followers what the #IHaveADream speech meant to them and what it means today.

@NBCnews promoted the hashtag #DreamDay to encourage followers — and celebrities — to share their dreams for today. The results were then shared on the special NBC #DreamDay website.

 @MSNBC asked viewers to share their thoughts and photos on Dr. King’s vision of #AdvancingTheDream. The results were embedded in a social media gallery, where users could “like” favorite entries. News correspondents took part too:

ABC News/Univision (@ABC) collected Vine posts from viewers using the hashtag #FusionDream, asking them to complete the sentence: “I still have a dream that…”. The results, as reported by Poynter, were then displayed on a RebelMouse page, which aggregates social media feeds.

Meanwhile, @DianeSawyer from ABC News asked her followers to get involved:

Showcasing the past

@NPR told the story from 1963 with its @todayin1963 account, using Twitter to highlight news from the past in a modern way.

The events were a reason for news organizations to showcase their extensive archives from that tumultuous year. Here’s one example from the @TheBuffaloNews:

Telling data stories about the present

@CNN used Vine to tell data stories, plotting the change in income disparity since the time of Dr. King’s speech.

You can read about #datavines and get some tips for making your own here.

Do you know of any innovative uses of Twitter in the news? Contact us at