Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Audacity of Twitter

It's hardly unusual for journalists to tout their own stories on Twitter. I've done it myself. And I appreciate seeing links to provocative pieces I may have missed.

But what happens when you write what you think is an important story, and no one much cares? That's happened to just about everyone in the business. But Fast Company's Adam Penenberg decided to do something about it.

He tweeted. And kept on tweeting.

Penenberg had reported on a legal proceeding involving baseball prospect Brian Cole, who was killed when his SUV rolled over. This did not generate many headlines. He began venting on Twitter:

"So you have a $131 million verdict against a major corporation by a jury that found that one of its most popular (and profitable vehicles) was essentially defective, a future NY Mets star whose life was tragically cut short, a top litigator, and no media coverage?...

"So I got on Twitter, dashing off a two-hour burst of tweets about the case and why it was big news. I told the horrific tales of rollover accident victims and shared some of my reporting on the Ford Explorer, which Ford's own internal documents showed was dangerously unstable. I offered context for the verdict, linked to previous articles on two earlier trials that had ended in hung juries, and berated journalists for not getting on the story....

"Partway through my Tweetapoolaza, the first news story--a tiny article--appeared on a local Mississippi newspaper site. Then came an Associated Press piece and a post on ESPN. The New York Daily News tweeted me back, promising me they were on the case. The next day, though, there was only a brief three-sentence mention of the case and muted coverage of it elsewhere. Most of it was of the 'he said, she said' sort of journalism....

"None of them explained what the real problem was: The Ford Explorer...You won't find many publications willing to go there. Perhaps they are fearful of losing Ford advertising dollars."

Whether that theory has any validity or not, Penenberg got a second wave of attention, however modest, for his reporting. Which is why I'm now writing about it.

(Hat tip: Mediaite)

By Howard Kurtz  |  September 7, 2010; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Top story  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Liberals' Lament
Next: Obama Channels Hendrix


jack, If you've been injured due to the negligence of another, you may be compensated for certain losses. We're here to protect your rights and see that you receive a just settlement, contact at or 877-738-0690

Posted by: bettyhadley9 | September 10, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

I actually provided some real analysis of Penenberg's tweets and how the mainstream media responded.

Anyone interested in this topic should read:

Bottom line? It took AP about as much time to spit out a rel. complete wire story as it did for Penenberg to blast off his tweets. I would note most of his tweets were background and not news.

Perspective, people.

BTW, I sent a link to Kurtz via an @ reply on Twitter (I'm at @billdiTO), but never heard back.

Posted by: BillDoskoch | September 12, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company