Journalism professor Dan Reimold is disturbed by what he sees as a new trend: student journalists using Twitter to find and contact sources.
What’s wrong with them? Well, Reimold says, the character limits and public-by-necessity messages make the Tweeted introductions “resemble public cattle calls more than courteous private introductions.”
Reimold goes on to explain how these messages could be done better—they should be personalized rather than blasted to 50 people at once, they should be DMed (if possible), and they should be professional.
Here’s the thing. We (that’s the royal we here) use Twitter to contact sources all the time, usually as a last resort for those sources that didn’t pick up the phone or respond to our email. We like to think we send personalized, professional messages no matter the medium.
And that’s the thing: a student journalist who thinks its OK to send 50 messages that just read “Hi, I’m a journalism student, I’m working on a story. Up for a chat?” is going to think it’s OK to send 50 messages by email too (probably CCing all 50 people as she does so). Twitter isn’t overly rude; it’s just a medium. It’s what you do with it that matters.