Perhaps some reporters should return to using Twitter as a reporting tool.
Last Sunday, Awful Announcing, a blog covering sports media, announced it “severed its relationship” with Steve Lepore, one of its writers. Sports blog Deadspin reports the move came after Lepore, on Twitter, treated women inappropriately by “[asking] what sort of photos they might be willing to pose for.”
His actions mark the third recent incident involving journalists’ Twitter use.
In another Twitter blunder, student reporter Marisa Martin came under fire after tweeting an insensitive “joke” about Jameis Winston, a Florida State University football player.
Marisa Martin, a student at the University of Alabama, tweeted the following on Wednesday night: “Reported gunman on the FSU campus. Maybe he is heading for Jameis,” a reference to Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston. When criticized by other Twitter users for her comment, she defended her Tweet: “Since apparently I cant make a joke in all seriousness I hope everyone at FSU is safe & that the gunman is found. But I stand by my opinions.”
Winston, who is facing sexual assault accusations, was the victim of another tweet that was not just insensitive, but potentially libelous. San Francisco Chronicle’s Ann Killion reportedly tweeted “C’mon Boston College. Beat the rapist,” before deleting the tweet and apologizing.
But at ESPN, one writer was punished for behavior on Twitter that was less offensive. ESPN writer Keith Law, according to Slate, took to Twitter to debate baseball analyst Curt Schilling on evolution. Per Slate, ESPN suspended Law from Twitter, but claimed the punishment “had absolutely nothing to do with his opinions on the subject.”
While journalists can benefit from humanizing themselves on Twitter, it is important for them to do so professionally. The debate on evolution did just that, but the other cases show some reporters struggle to strike that balance.