OLD Media Moves

Biz journalists debate Twitter usage — using Twitter

May 14, 2009

There’s been quite a Tweet-off on Thursday between Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor Alan Murray, New York Times Sunday business editor Tim O’Brien and new media expert Jeff Jarvis, who teaches at the City University of New York journalism program, about the proper usage of Twitter in reporting stories.

The issue has come up after the Journal issued guidelines to its reporters asking them to practice common sense when using Twitter. Naturally, the conversation Thursday has been occurring via tweets.

Jarvis began by stating: Somebody at The Wall Street Journal should tell Sherman to stop the Wayback Machine before it’s too late.

Murray replied: We’re encouraging people to use Twitter and Facebook. Just encouraging them to use some common sense when they do.

Jarvis then replied: Yes but isn’t the 1 rule: Don’t be stupid? Telling them not to discuss ongoing stories cuts off collaboration. Nose/spite/face

Jarvis again: Wouldn’t the better memo have been to brainstorm all the new ways to do journalism via Twitter & Facebook — openly?

O’Brien then entered the fray: Come on! You guys know why they needed a memo. There are all sorts of understandable procedural and legal issues

Now Murray: Point on story in progress is simple: Not a good idea for Woodward to tweet he’s going to meet source in garage.

Jarvis: but they tell them not to discuss stories! That’s the rule. You can say it’s legal cya. But wait till they fire over it

Back to O’Brien: jeff — it’s not about being opposed to collaboration. that misses the point, i think. it’s about procedural and legal stuff

O’Brien again: you can’t be open about every part of every process inside any organization. stifles deliberation and debate. you miss the point

And finally, Jarvis: And my common sense learned online says openness & collaboration improve reporting and journalism. My rule.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.