When Twitter goes bad: newspaper tweets a funeral

US newspaper The Rocky Mountain News has come under scrutiny for its use of microblogging tool Twitter.

The paper has been using the service to provide news alerts with its @The Rocky account, but recently experimented with an individual reporter twittering from the funeral of a 3-year-old.

“Rocky reporter Berny Morson filed live updates from the memorial service of 3-year-old Marten Kudlis. The messages are unedited,” reads the editor’s note accompanying the article on the death of Marten Kudlis, who was killed in a car crash last week.

Michael Roberts at the Latest Word blog points out that the updates are ‘self-satirizing in the most morbid, inappropriate way possible’.

“Morson’s not to blame for the lameness of these entries, which suggest a golfing commentator whispering at green-side while Tiger Woods lines up a putt.”

Questions have been raised about the appropriateness of Twitter coverage before, but usually centring on its suitability as a medium for coverage e.g. does the event require frequent updates or can it wait? Covering a funeral – that’s proprierty gone AWOL.

8 thoughts on “When Twitter goes bad: newspaper tweets a funeral

  1. Robert Andrews

    Christ, what do they *think* happens at a funeral? Coffins and earthen graves are pretty par for the course in most religions. Not a good use of the technology – live *video*, however… now *that* would let one indulge one’s mawkish death fetish.

  2. Judith Townend

    I remember reporting on one particular funeral after a tragic accident in Australia and feeling horribly uncomfortable by my instrusion – especially when I saw the journalist next to me idly doodling in her pad. This insenstive Tweeting really highlights how disconnected the journalist can be from an event like this. Is there a need for journalists at a funeral? Does the public gain from funeral reportage?

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