Michele Tafoya is an on-air reporter for NBC Sports, most prominently featured on the sidelines during the network’s flagship property, “Sunday Night Football.” Prior to last week’s tilt between the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, Digiday caught up with Tafoya to see how she incorporates social media into her day-to-day role, especially during the game. The following has been lightly edited for clarity:
How do you use social media during the game?
It really is, primarily, Twitter during the game. That’s the easiest way to shoot out a piece of news, particularly where it relates to injuries. Or if the coach gave me a good nugget during the halftime report, we will send that out [on Twitter] as well.
A lot of times it’s a great resource. When you’re live on the air, we might not be in the right position to give that news verbally. You can’t report it right that second because it’s an important play or something else is happening. In that case we can tweet it out and keep people up to speed.
So would you say Twitter is constantly on your mind during the broadcast?
My producer — Michele Froman — thinks about it a lot more than I do. The interesting part is, sometimes we’ll see something on Twitter — some fan just tweeted that so-and-so is getting stretched on the other side of the field, for instance — and I’ll race over there. More often than not it’s nothing. But it’s another way for us — it’s almost like we have all these eyes in the stadium, and if we think it’s something we should look at, we will.
How about during the week?
Not that much. I use it as a source of information. I scan through it and follow almost every NFL player and team, and you certainly look for stuff that needs to be looked for. I would say it’s most important in the couple days leading up to the game and then gameday itself. But we’re doing so much research during the week, if we have a great background story, we’re going to hang on to it for our Sunday broadcast instead of tweeting it out ahead of time.
During Sunday, do you keep track of what else is going on in the league?
It depends on the story. The big stories that require us to turn away for a moment from what we’re doing, those are few and far between. And we will — we absolutely will — because sometimes they impact what we’re doing. But I don’t have to keep track of every single moment of every single game.
Do you often find yourself being a fan?
Never. It’s one of the most liberating things about this job. I grew up an insane 49ers fan because my dad was from San Francisco. It was painful, because of the rollercoaster of emotions. Now, I’m really not allowed to cheer for anyone, or be a fan of any team. Life is a whole lot easier when you can cover [the NFL] as an objective bystander.
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