OLD Media Moves

Twitter and the business journalist

December 17, 2008

BusinessWeek.com editor John Byrne posted a list last week of all of the magazine’s staffers who have a Twitter feed. The implication was that this was a major initiative by the publication.

However, a number of the staffers are upset with their Twitter feeds now being exposed to the public, particularly public relations professionals who are now bombarding them with pitches.

Long-time BusinessWeek staffer Steve Baker writes today, “Suddenly, there were some very uncomfortable people roaming these halls. They thought they shared their Twitter streams with a small group of friends and colleagues—and suddenly dozens of strangers were jumping on: Flacks! Sure enough, PR blogs were already spreading the word. (Peter Himler wondered how John’s colleagues would feel about it.)”

Byrne’s original post with the Twitter feeds is here, while Baker’s response today is here.

Another staff member wrote to Talking Biz News and stated, “Now obviously Twitter streams are (for the most part) totally public, but there’s something very uncomfortable in my eyes that BW is just going to assimilate everything any of its employees do anywhere on the web. Presumably people will now be followed and sent messages in their role as BW reporters, which may or may not have anything to do with what they do on Twitter.”

What do you think? Are what business journalists write outside of their full-time jobs available for review by the public as well? Should BusinessWeek have exposed the Twitter feeds of its writers to public scrutiny?

This is obviously new ground in business journalism. There are no write or wrong answers. But I think it’s worthy of discussion.

And as a disclosure: Talking Biz News headlines are available as a Twitter feed. I have a grand total of 47 followers.

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