While many journalists recognize Twitter’s power as a reporting tool, some news organizations are still reluctant to embrace it while others have issued rules restraining their writers’ use of the service.
It’s ridiculous to ignore Twitter’s utility as a reporting tool, but just as ridiculous to overstate it. It’s not anything at all analogous to a news medium like a newspaper, magazine, television newscast or news website. It is really more like the telephone, actually like the old days of party lines on the telephone. Think of it like a big open conference call. And use it that way. Would you ban use of the telephone to find out what is going on, to interview someone, to ask a question, pass on a tip, verify a fact? Of course not. Would you believe everything or even most things you overhear on a party line, would you care about most things people say on a general party line, would you limit your reporting to just what you hear on a party line and the people who happen to be on the party line, and is the party line necessarily the best channel to reach the audience who would care most about your story? Of course not.