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DC Mayor, reporter in Twitter fight

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by MisterCreosote, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. MisterCreosote

    MisterCreosote Well-Known Member

  2. murphyc

    murphyc Well-Known Member

    To me, the reporter should have either hung up when he realized he got invited to the wrong call or, at the least, not tweeted about it. Is it really his job to tweet about a private inneroffice call he shouldn't have been invited to? I'm still a little confused how he got the invite.
    As for the mayor, getting into a Twitter fight with a reporter doesn't sound like the brightest idea. How about calling the guy or the paper?
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Bull. Shit. You get invited to a call and you are on there and nobody has questioned your presence, you are in the clear ethically. There are so many equivalents to this in the pre-technology days -- from people who just happened to be "in the room" one way or another when something big was going on.

    I am on a conference call twice a week with the same "record your name" system and they still go through a roll call and ask the standard "is anyone else on the line" question, so if the mayor's people didn't do that, fuck 'em. And God forbid someone actually reports what a politician actually believes instead of what he scripts for prepared remarks and planted questions at press conferences.

    YGBFKM Guest

    D.C. government is the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Yet another reminder of why DC is not a state.
  6. WTFünke

    WTFünke Member

    T.J. Quinn grabbed a nice scoop after overhearing Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony. I believe he said he was standing outside the door in the hallway ... and wasn't doing anything illegal.

    I don't see how this is any different: The reporter overheard something he shouldn't have but through no wrongdoing of his own. I'd run with it, too.
  7. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    I disagree. This was essentially (arguably unintentional) espionage. I say arguably because, if it was really unintentional, he wouldn't have stayed on the line and tweeted away.

    It sounds like if anyone had known he was on the line, they would have requested he hang up. If a reporter is specifically told to wait outside a room, their presence is known to be outside that room. Things that are said loudly, everyone knows, could be heard outside that room. That's the difference, to me. This is way out of bounds and I would suspend him without pay for a week and tell him not to pull these shenanigans. People already trust the government more than the media. How does a story about the media secretly spying on government phone calls that are completely innocuous make us look?

    The average reader who finds out about this situation thinks, "So the reporter was eavesdropping without anyone being aware that he was on the line, and he found the officials talking about social media." Who comes across better in that story?
  8. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    You're on those calls for scheduled media conferences, right? Would you go through roll call if you were calling up two or three coworkers to discuss plans for a story?
  9. WTFünke

    WTFünke Member

    I see your point. But Quinn wasn't specifically told to wait outside where he was. He was wandering around until he found that spot ... so his presence was technically not known to be immediately outside that room.

    Maybe legal doesn't translate to ethical here, but Quinn's scoop was worth it; this one simply didn't have a lot to it. But, if something more had come out of it, I'd be comfortable running with it. Regardless, I wouldn't suspend the reporter because this seems to be an ethical gray area. I think something like this requires a sit-down conversation, more than immediate punishment.

    One of my colleagues once got into a conference call about 10 minutes early. The starting QB was going off to this sideline reporter. My colleague was typing; it was overheard. He introduced himself; they told him it was embargoed. And he basically said, "Fuck off."

    I think all that's fair game. Now, it's another matter whether it's worth the hassle to use it ... and I'll certainly defer to you when you say it didn't make this reporter look good to the public.
  10. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Not a media conference call. Not a media company. It is an internal call to discuss semi-weekly status updates, and finding out who is on the call is just a standard internal security control.
  11. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    We're not there to question because our sources might get mad at us.
  12. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    Few politicians have been "not ready for primetime" the way DC's mayor isn't. He's been a fucking disaster.
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