Thursday, May 14, 2009

Twitter Away, I Say

Interesting story from the NYO today about how the NYT bigwigs want their reporters to keep their fingers off their iPhones and BlackBerry's during meetings:

At the meeting, Metro editor Jodi Rudoren said that she doesn’t believe Times staffers should be tweeting any internal news—good news, bad news, whatever.

From Bill Keller:

Before we get going, I'm going to say something I perhaps should have said Monday, when we did our digital update in this auditorium. It's important that we be as open as possible with one another about things going on inside The Times. But the level of candor is likely to be diminished if people are Twittering fragments of the conversation to the outside world. We need a zone of trust, where people can say what's on their minds without fear of having an unscripted remark or a partially baked idea zapped into cyberspace.

I find it terribly hypocritical of the Times editors to be admonishing their reporters on this. It's one thing when the Times' business staff refuses to speak to the press. It's quite another when The Times' editors asks their reporters to remain silent on issues about the Times that they would demand their reporters ask sources at other institutions to provide details about*.

* That said, I also tend to think that the media spends way too much time reporting about other media. Do readers care about this? Certainly, the decline of print journalism is a story worth covering, but stories about the layoff of journalists are published at a disproportionate rate to their portion of the total number of layoffs in the broader economy. Although over-inflating the media's own importance is certainly part of this, I actually think it's more related to the relative ease with which journalists can get information about layoffs at other newspapers--as opposed to investment banks, construction companies, etc.

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