Top news tweets belong to BBC, not to reporters

Top news tweets belong to BBC, not to reporters
Top news tweets belong to BBC, not to reporters

AP photo

The BBC has reminded its journalists that Twitter’s alluring 140-character box is no place for revealing top news, according to the Guardian. 

The new rules, which were passed a day after Sky News told its reporters to not retweet information from persons unrelated to the company, targeted all employees and will ensure that the BBC’s news-gathering machine will retain priority while also preventing Twitter-related delays in the news-sharing process. 

There was a dilemma as to whether to give credence to company rules or deliver news as quickly as possible, the Guardian said.  

“[L]ike Sky News, we are still pondering a couple of key questions, is it right, for instance, to break news on Twitter before it reaches any broadcast outlets?” BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones was quoted as saying. 

“In a long-running court case, a series of tweets from the reporter who is following proceedings can be an invaluable way of keeping both the newsdesk and the world informed,” he said.

"But when it comes to the verdict, surely the reporter should rush to the live microphone or camera first – even if that means being beaten by a rival tweeter?” Cellan-Jones said. 

"Some would like to turn the clock back to a simpler time, when all power resided in the newsdesk, only star reporters got a byline, and sharing information with outsiders before the presses rolled or the bulletin began was a sacking offense. But it is almost certainly too late for that,” he said.

"We prize the increasing value of Twitter, and other social networks, to us [and our audiences] as a platform for our content, a news-gathering tool and a new way of engaging with people. Being quick off the mark with breaking news is essential to that mission,” Chris Hamilton, BBC’s social media editor, told the Guardian.

“But we've been clear that our first priority remains ensuring that important information reaches BBC colleagues, and thus all our audiences, as quickly as possible – and certainly not after it reaches Twitter,” he said.

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