Chris Daniels is an award-winning journalist with KING 5 (Seattle NBC) in the nation’s 12th market. His Seattle Arena reporting earned a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Continuing Coverage in 2013. He’s also won a Regional Emmy for General Assignment Reporting in 2012. But that’s not why his Twitter following has grown by more than 70 percent in the last 90 days. He can thank the NBA’s Sacramento Kings for that.
In February, Daniels’ Twitter following couldn’t crack 10,000. Three months later, on the day the NBA voted to keep the franchise in Sacramento his total had risen to almost 17,000. Twitter helped him own the story. Recently, I sat down with Chris Daniels for a little one-on-one.
Yeager: Now that the Sacramento Kings aren’t coming to Seattle and this chapter appears to be over, what stands out?
Chris Daniels: How social media changed the whole tenor and way I reported the story. I realized how many people paid attention to what I had to say on Twitter and made it a source for getting information. It was a way for me to plant the flag and direct people to the website. It used to be, wait until 5 o’clock, and deliver it then. I thought more globally about the website and how important clicks are, how important page views are, as much as TV views and how you can use Twitter to direct people to those stories. So I found over time that nobody was investing as much in the story as I was.
Yeager: You’re a reporter in the 12th market but you really reported in three different markets.
Daniels: I had to be more and more careful because I began to realize that the NBA was following me. And my follower count went way up in Sacramento and also in Seattle. I felt I was reporting on Sacramento news as much as I was Seattle news. But because the Seattle ownership group wasn’t very vocal, I almost became the person that knew the most on this subject in Seattle.
Yeager: Something that happened in the mayor’s office of Sacramento was evidence?
Daniels: What social media did was it put me on a different level in Sacramento, so when I went down to Sacramento feeling, “Everyone there must hate me.” It was 100% the opposite. I said to my photographer, “Have my back, ok?” Before I could even get into City Hall, Mayor Johnson’s press secretary came out and complimented me on the work that I was doing on social media. They thought that I was the best reporter on the story. And a group of local (Sacramento) fans said, thanks for all the work you’ve done on this. You’ve done such a great job. I just looked at my photographer and raised my eyebrow, this not what I expected at all.
Yeager: You received some negative feedback from the NBA Commissioner’s Office in New York because of what you said on social media.
Daniels: I wrote the story that there was a rift between David Stern and several of the owners about the direction of this (Seattle) franchise. And you could see that there were eight votes on the board for relocation, that there was a rift. And what social media allows you to do is that it alerts the NBA to these stories that are being reported and that was obviously in advance. He read it. He saw it. He’d seen me before so he knew who I was. He said in front of everyone, “Contrary to what you’ve reported,” which shows you how closely they were following what I was reporting in Seattle.
Yeager: How did it play in Seattle?
Daniels: The sports radio stations started following me for news. I would tweet something and before I could ever write something or put it on TV, they’d have me on the radio. There were days when I’d do six different radio interviews.
Yeager: So when expansion becomes the story will you be the guy on it?
Daniels: Likely. That’s what people still ask me about on Twitter. @ChrisDaniels5