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Armstrong’s Tweets Pose Challenge

Published July 5, 2009

BOULDER, CO (BRAIN)—VeloNews.com’s editor, Steve Frothingham, delivered several insightful comments about the state of newsgathering, Twitter, and Lance Armstrong in an article published Wednesday in Editor & Publisher.

The magazine’s writer, Jack Coyle, was examining the recent impact of Twitter on breaking news such as Michael Jackson’s death, the rioting in Tehran as well as some of the nonsense Twitter spews like Patrick Swayze’s and Jeff Goldblum’s death. Both remain among the living.

But Armstrong’s penchant for Twittering has caused VeloNews and others to re-think how they report news, and some are boycotting his tweets. “It’s one-sided,” Frothingham told E&P. “It’s just us sitting there taking what he’s giving. We can’t just not ask follow-up questions; we can’t ask any questions,” said Frothingham, a former editor at Bicycle Retailer & Industry News and for The Associated Press.

Frothingham pointed out that Armstrong has more than 1.1 million people who follow his tweets, more than who read VeloNews.com and other cycling news outlets.

But as Coyle points out, truthfulness remains Twitter’s biggest problem. Tweets are less reliable than old-fashioned journalism. “News that circulates on Twitter, re-tweeted from person to person, can spread quickly—often too quickly to be verified. False rumors spread daily on Twitter,” Coyle wrote in E&P.

—Marc Sani

Topics associated with this article: Media/Publishing

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