Getting social with NBC

Getting social with NBC

Alumnus Lou Dubois working to grow NBC News’ digital coverage
By Jeff Spivey, ‘05

If you were following NBC News’ digital coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, what you may not have realized was the man behind the social media scenes was Flagler alumnus Lou Dubois, ‘06

Dubois, who handles social media for NBC News, had a front row seat at the Olympics this February where he coordinated the network’s social media feeds and how digital information was used across the network’s TV and online platforms.

“Sochi is the first Winter Olympics since iPads came out, and in those four years, the way people send and receive information has completely been altered,” he said.

For Dubois, it was one of the highlights of a career that has moved as rapidly as the changes in social media and online technology.

At NBC News in New York, Dubois is front and center in helping to meld TV and digital content. He landed the job after serving as the first social media editor for one of NBC’s owned and operated stations in Philadelphia.

In his role at NBC, in New York’s 30 Rockefeller Plaza, his primary duties are news gathering, working with digital platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and integrating everything into TV and NBCNews.com. With new social media sites, Apps and Web tools being introduced daily, he’s actively working on ways to reach the consumer 24/7.

“There isn’t a news story today that doesn’t have a digital component,” he said. “Smartphones and social media have revolutionized the way the media world works.”

Dubois said unprecedented access to news can also be troublesome at times, and that misinformation often spreads quickly through viral video and photos. He points to the Boston Marathon bombing as an example of “the good and bad of new media.” Many news outlets, including NBC, had to work quickly to get the right information to viewers.

However, because of the viewer’s access, reporters were also able to get in contact with eyewitnesses through sites like Twitter and relay critical information to the public. As he notes, getting the story right is the most important thing. Getting it first is also nice.

One of Dubois’ other highlights of his new position came during the 2012 presidential election, when NBC was the first to call President Obama the winner. During the coverage, one of his tweets scrolled across the network’s lower third graphics bar, and he recalls getting screenshots of it from friends watching the broadcast.

He credits his current success to his previous work in print and digital news, along with being in the right place at the right time.

“All of the places I’ve worked have taught me something I could use at my next job,” he said. “But jobs like mine didn’t exist five years ago, and they may not exist five years from now. I’ve been able to parlay skills from multiple roles into a position charged with innovation at a time when news organizations are figuring out their future.”

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