The Role of Twitter in Reporting and Making News

Twitter has emerged as another extremely popular form of new media . As we were reminded yet again during our recent trip to USA Today, Twitter is becoming an increasingly accepted companion to traditional journalism and is used by many traditional reporters as another effective method of getting information out to their audience.

As recently as the spring, Twitter was a mostly unknown entity among reporters and the general public, but now it seems like nearly every newsperson has a Twitter account to file quick updates and provide follower with tidbits of information as they come up. In the press box at Terp football games, it has become something of a competition to see which reporter can tweet information the fastest.

Another interesting Twitter-related development is when newsmakers tweet something and the tweets themselves become the news. Cincinnati Bengals running back Larry Johnson was recently waived by the Kansas City Chiefs for using a homophobic slur on his Twitter account. Johnson had also used Twitter to criticize his former team and specifically its head coach.

Closer to home, our classmate Eric Detweiler referenced tweets made by Terp basketball player Dino Gregory in a recent story in The Diamondback about Gregory's eventual return from a suspension. Gregory had not been made available to speak with the media, but Detweiler used Gregory's Twitter account to convey Gregory's comment on the situation.

What does everybody think about Twitter in the media? Should reporters use Twitter to report information, or is that unprofessional? Should things that prominent people tweet become fair game for news? Should reporters use relevant tweets as comments on important issues when the source is not available for more traditional comment?