chapter  14
6 Pages

I communicate, therefore I tweet

WithBud Ward

The author of this chapter, who began his environmental journalism career in 1974 and now serves as editor of the website Yale Climate Connections, explains the role of Twitter in environmental journalism: “Twitter, like all those hand-held tools now a standard part of the reporter’s daily life, is no more than a tool. It sometimes can be the beginning of the reporting process, as it surely has proven for many a valuable source of story ideas and contacts.” The author advises, “Try thinking of Twitter as a contact sport, for it surely is that – a way to make and cultivate news contacts and sources, the coin of the realm. But if asked if you, as a journalist, ‘tweet,’ be sure to answer, and be sure to be honest with yourself, that you tweet both in the sense of ingoing and outgoing messaging. Doing one or the other, but not both and frequently, amounts to some kind of journalistic Twitter malpractice.” He concludes, “Given the pace of change, in the dynamic field of information technology, communications, and mainstream journalism, there’s no guarantee just how long Twitter will be part of the landscape. But whether its Twitter, Facebook, or some as-yet-unheard-of ‘must-have’ breakthrough communications platform, journalists need to take full advantage of the available tools for improving their trade in challenging times. They’d be foolish to waste valuable time chasing hashtags. But more foolish to ignore the benefits those tools can offer. The real winners will be those air breathers dependent on and in need of better journalism.”