Sir, you’re not helping the image of newspaper editors

“I cannot believe that I have a Twitter account,” writes Pueblo Chieftain managing editor Steve Henson. “If we want to communicate with young people, you have to get with it. … Once or twice a day, I tweet, peep, cackle or whatever it’s called a promo of what will be in the following day’s newspaper.”

It gets worse, as the editor shares his practice tweets with readers.

Tim McGuire, a professor and former newspaper editor who is in his 60s, tweets his reaction:

Do not know Mr. Henson but he embarrasses journalists when he writes drivel about Twitter like this.

* I feel like a twit while tweeting

UPDATE: Late Tuesday afternoon I asked Henson if he wanted to comment on reaction to his column. He emailed:

I like doing Twitter and I see the value of it. The point I was trying to make is that I don’t think I have a lot going on personally that people would find interesting …

Here are some reactions posted on my Facebook wall:

Jenny Mondor
It’s like Andy Rooney came back from the grave and slapped together a column about social media! OK, not quite. A much better thing to do would be for him to write a column about how he has a Twitter feed and encourage people to tweet him about how he should use his Twitter feed, or what they want to hear from him. It really can be a pretty effective tool to talk to your readers. Instead, he comes across as a crotchety old jerk that I wouldn’t want to talk to anyway.

Dan Callahan
Well, I think the poor guy is trying to be funny. It is also apparent that writing humor is not one of his strongest skills.

David Kelly
He violates the 11th Commandment, ‘Thou Shalt Not Make Light of Social Media.’

Chauncey Mabe
Oh, what’s the big deal. Managing editors have been embarrassing themselves with bone-head columns since before the electric typewriter.

Malcolm McDowell Woods
After reading the column, we can only be thankful he didn’t tweet his daily routine. As for promoting the next day’s paper, “Interesting day in court” seems pretty vague. I think it can be used more effectively than that.

Wayne C. Countryman
Anything worth doing is worth doing right.

Dan Mitchell
As I observe here, Rupert Murdoch has not yet pasted a link into a tweet, and neither has this guy, who says he’s tweeting to promote his newspaper. It’s apparent that these people don’t care enough to figure the thing out before using it or writing about it.



  1. Marc said:

    Why do all non-Twitter users think that it’s nothing but people blurting out what they’re doing every second? 95% of the tweets I see are tips to interesting articles, comments on current events, or humorous one-liners… anything and everything that isn’t “just ate breakfast. going to the gym”

  2. Don Lee said:

    Marc, that’s probably a function of what and who you choose to follow. Noise-to-signal ratio is still pretty high on social media, what with no overall gatekeepers, so we all have to be our own gatekeepers — or editors, if you will. that said, I’m not a Twitter user and even I saw this column as out of touch with its topic.

  3. senlin said:

    Twitter is a multi-million dollar MEDIA company that has successfully gotten many other media companies to hand over their content, for free, with plenty of strings attached. I think journalists would be wise to do a little *more* questioning of social media instead of jumping on yet another (essentially) advertising/marketing bandwagon that won’t hesitate to chew journalists up and spit them out. Twitter is a large, influential business entity, not just some idealized social movement, and newspaper editors who claim to be willing to speak truth to power might want to do a little more of putting their money where their mouth is.