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Jon Bernstein: 15 news men and women you should follow on Twitter

October 12th, 2009 | 10 Comments | Posted by in Social media and blogging

Naturally this is an entirely subjective list, but I’ve tried to inject some logic into it.

So it only includes individual, not group, feeds. I’ve also gone for social Twitterers rather than the Twitter-as-RSS brigade (you know who you are).

And, by and large, I’ve stuck to ‘mainstream’ news people rather than some niche news people, which obviously means excluding some great twitterers especially in the media and tech space. Oh, and it’s UK-only.

Finally, I went crowdsourcing among a portion of the Twitterverse before I compiled this list, so some of the entries are the very excellent suggestions of others.

So in alphabetical order:

1. Benedict Brogan

aka: @benedictbrogan

who: chief political commentator, Daily Telegraph.

why: One of the best journo bloggers around comes to Twitter. News, gossip, analysis.

typical tweet: Consternation inside the BBC at decision to interview Martin McGuinness outside the Grand, I’m told.#lab09

2. Nicky Campbell

aka: @nickyaacampbell

who: presenter, BBC radio and TV.

why: Mix of news, radio behind-the-scenes and real life.

typical tweet: Shelagh says “I developed my lip gloss habit because of Penelope Pitstop”

3. Ruth Gledhill

aka: @ruthiegledhill

who: religion correspondent, The Times.

why: A glimpse into the world of a national newspaper correspondent.

typical tweet: About to welcome Bishop of London Richard Chartres to News International to talk on Hair Shirts and the Apocalypse.

4. Bryony Gordon

aka: @bryony-gordon

who: features writer, Daily Telegraph.

why: Not strictly news, but gets in by virtue of being very, very funny.

typical tweet: If i was a journalist on newsnight now, i’d take paxo up on his red socks. but that’s why i’m not on newsnight. or even a proper journalist.

5. Alison Gow

aka: @alisongow

who: executive editor, Liverpool Echo.

why: Life and times of a big regional paper.

typical tweet: Aaaw – baby’s first legal action! Letter received from the Rooney lawyers warning of court action if papers take pix of their new baby.

6. Krishnan Guru-Murthy

aka: @krishgm

who: presenter, Channel 4 News.

why: Good mix of news, conversation and newsroom gossip – even known to tweet from the studio.

typical tweet: Think we might lead on Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize…..or rather ‘why did Obama get the Nobel Peace Prize?’

7. Kevin Maguire

aka: @kevin_maguire

who: associate editor (politics), Daily Mirror.

why: Well-connected political journalist of the left, a rarity on Twitter. Fighting the good fight.

typical tweet: Ken Clarke’s huge breakfast bowl of prunes may do to him what Con policies would do to Britain.

8. Tim Marshall

aka: @ITwitius

who: foreign affairs editor, Sky News.

why: In his own words, “Insufferable know it all, or, informed commentator – you choose.”

typical tweet: Nobel Prize for best reaction to the Nobel Prize? The Taliban. AFP wire – Taliban condemns decision to award Nobel Peace Prize to Obama.

9. Cathy Newman

aka: @cathynewman

who: political correspondent, Channel 4 News.

why: Funny, gossipy tweets.

typical tweet: Blimey mandy was not happy about me asking why he called the sun a bunch of c****.

10. Victoria Raimes

aka: @victoriaraimes

who: news reporter, Edinburgh Evening News.

why: More life and times on a regional. Takes you right inside the newsroom.

typical tweet: Late shift. Not fair. All good stories gone. Unless any of you good people want to go and create one?

11. Marc Reeves

aka: @marcreeves

who: editor, The Birmingham Post.

why: Twitter-veteran, knows how it works.

typical tweet: Ok. If (and I mean IF) there was a Birmingham Post iPhone app, what would you want it to do?

12. Alan Rusbridger

aka: @arusbridger

who: editor, The Guardian.

why: Occasional, but insightful tweets.

typical tweet: Breaking news. Guardian gagged by a company in the High Court. We can’t tell you which company, or why. Er, that’s it.

13. Alex Thomson

aka: @alextomo

who: chief correspondent, Channel 4 News.

why: Tweets from Kabul to the More4 News studio and all points in between. Good mix of news and nonsense.

typical tweet: Cherry tomatoes on my desk now – still 73 left to eat.

14. Jo Wadsworth

aka: @jowadsworth

who: reporter, Brighton Argus.

why: Life as a local paper hack, warts and all.

typical tweet: Think I’ve managed to diffuse newsdesk/sub spat by singing “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony”. Now they just hate me.

15. Paul Waugh

aka: @paulwaugh

who: deputy political editor, London Evening Standard

why: Gossipy and insightful in equal measure.

typical tweet: Given ‘Evening Standard’ is now a trending topic, can I say that I’ve never before had so much interest in my organ.

So that’s my list. A little politics-heavy, but there are not too many home affairs and foreign correspondents out there in the Twittersphere, which is a shame.

I initially intended to feature 25 Twitterers from media land, but was rather underwhelmed by what I found. Many seemed to miss the opportunities on offer.

Anyway, who have I overlooked and who’s on the list that shouldn’t be? Leave a comment below or via @jon_bernstein.

Jon Bernstein is former multimedia editor of Channel 4 News. This is part of a series of regular columns for Journalism.co.uk. You can read his personal blog at this link.

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Last night’s Question Time: should Will Lewis get a knighthood?

Last night’s BBC Question Time got a lot of people talking, not least in regards to the heckling of MP Margaret Beckett. The Twitter comments were interesting to follow too, some of which Paul Canning has reproduced here on his blog

But here was the other story, as reported on the main Journalism.co.uk site: The Telegraph’s assistant editor, Benedict Brogan, on his newspaper’s handling of MPs’ expenses case. It started with a question from the audience: should the Daily Telegraph’s editor, Will Lewis, get a knighthood?

Is it surprising that 25 journalists have been working on the story? Was it a courageous act by the Telegraph to publish? Should they be forced to disclose details about how they obtained information?

Here is a transcript with a few of the repetitions removed for clarity:

George Park, member of audience:

“Should the editor of the Daily Telegraph be knighted for services to journalism and the British electorate?”

[Presenter David Dimbleby asks Beckett if she approves of Telegraph’s publication of the information]

Margaret Beckett, MP:

“I think I’m going to find myself on dodgy territory, again. Because one of the things that is not quite clear about this riveting story is exactly what the Telegraph has done.

“And one of the things that I think is causing considerable anxiety. Well, I know, because every member of Parliament, yesterday, was sent a formal letter from the fees office to tell us that the information which is now circulating, which it would appear the Telegraph has perhaps bought, I don’t know, contains not only details of the personal financial circumstances, account numbers, credit card numbers of every MP but also of all of our staff (…) Our staff, who are merely employees of members, whose details were all on file, of course, because they are paid through the fees office; they’re paid on their contract and all of that has been stolen, and that, I think, is not a good thing.

“I’m not suggesting the editor of the Telegraph stole it, but what I am saying is it would appear he is profiting from someone else’s theft.”

David Dimbleby, presenter:

“If he didn’t steal it, he might be accused by you of being a receiver of stolen goods, which is almost as bad, isn’t it?”

Margaret Beckett:

“Well, I’m no lawyer, ask the lawyer.”

David Dimbleby:

“Well ask Ben Brogan: is it theft to have all this information that was going to be published by the House of Commons, on a disc? In your offices? Is it theft?”

Benedict Brogan, assistant editor, the Telegraph:

“You can speculate as much as you like…”

David Dimbleby:

“Well, it doesn’t just land… It doesn’t fly through the sky and land. Someone comes along to you with a little disc and says ‘here you are do you want this?’ and you say yes. and presumably you pay for it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“David, you’ve been a journalist for even longer than I have and the fact is the first rule of journalism – you don’t discuss your sources, or how you got things.

“The fact is that the Telegraph has been working on this story for weeks: we’ve got 25 journalists working on it, lawyers, all sorts of experts looking at it, and I can assure you that a newspaper like the Telegraph, which is a serious newspaper, has not entered into this exercise lightly.

“The things we satisfied ourselves about, were one, that the information is genuine; and two, that it is in the public interest that we publish it.

“The fact is that if the Telegraph hadn’t published, it hadn’t taken what I would describe as fairly courageous action to put this out into the public domain (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“Why’s it courageous? Your circulation has gone up. You’ve had a story a day for seven days and from what one gathers another one tomorrow. And more the days after. What’s courageous about it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“You only have to look at the reaction of the political classes, and the hostility expressed towards the Telegraph to suggest that (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“Are you scared of the political class? What’s so brave about it? I don’t understand.”

Benedict Brogan:

“Not at all. When you heard that people were prepared to contemplate the possibility of legal action to prevent the Telegraph from publishing – this is something we had to consider. The fact is we considered it and we pressed ahead, and as a result the electorate, the British public,  are aware of something the MP’s did not want released and now people can see it for themselves and draw their own conclusions about their MPs.”

David Dimbleby:

“Ming Campbell, you’re a lawyer…”

Ming Campbell, MP:

“It used to be that the editor of the Daily Telegraph did get a knighthood because in those days it was essentially the house magazine of the Conservative party (…) Those days have long gone.

“I’m rather more sympathetic to Ben Brogan than you might expect, for this reason: just a little while ago in the House of Commons we had an incident involving Mr Damian Green. And what was Mr Damian Green doing? He was leaking information which had been supplied to him… And what seems to me to be very difficult is to take a high and mighty moral attitude about the leak of this information.

“What I do think though, and I understand why Ben Brogan might like to protect his sources, is that perhaps to demonstrate the commercial ability of the Daily Telegraph, and its auditor! Its editor! Freudian slip there you may have noticed (…) tell us precisely how much they paid.”

Benedict Brogan:

“As I said earlier, the key thing earlier is to not discuss sources, so I’m not going to get into that. You may try but I’m not going to get into that.”

Ming Campbell:

“Transparency, transparency, transparency!”

David Dimbleby:

“Do you know the answer for the question I’m asking you, even if you won’t give it?”

Benedict Brogan:

“I probably shouldn’t even tell you if I know the answer (…)  the politicians can try to distract us from the matter at hand by talking about the processes as to how the Telegraph got hold of it (…) what is important is what we now know about our MPs (…)”

David Dimbleby:

“The lady [up there] made a point that the newspapers had some responsibility to report positive things as well as negative things (…) What do you make of that?”

Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s UK:

“I don’t hand out many knighthoods… To me there are aspects of cheque book journalism, if that’s what it is, which are pretty unsavoury and pretty sordid, particularly when they’re invasive and they disrupt people people’s lives and I certainly don’t approve of that. But on this case I am pretty comfortable that this is in the public’s best interest. Or in the tax payers’ best interest, to be honest with you.

“But it does require balance: I think we’d all like to see some good news, some balance put to this  (…)  How many MPs out there do play the game straight, give us hope and can give us some positive belief?

“(…) Perhaps we [the panel] haven’t gauged the mood of the country. I spend a lot of time in restaurants, that’s my job, chatting to staff, chatting to customers.

“Not one of them has ever made the comment ‘wasn’t the newspaper wrong to print it’. All the conversations is about the actual detail of course, and we shouldn’t fly against the mood of the country on this one.”

Member of the audience:

“I think the Daily Telegraph have actually done a very good job; they’ve made something transparent that should have already been transparent, and that’s what our money’s been spent on.”

George Park, member of the audience:

“Surely the main reason why the Telegraph had to do this, was because the Speaker, and people like him, were trying to suppress this information. And it gave the Telegraph so much credibility because of all of these people were dragged screaming and kicking to make all this information known…”

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BBC News’ ‘most read’ and Telegraph’s ‘most read’ on the day of the MPs’ expenses revelations

Interesting to spot this, late Friday afternoon. Is it because the Telegraph had the exclusive, so people went there to read about it, or because BBC users just weren’t all that interested in the subject?

MPs’ expenses was top of the list for the Telegraph’s ‘most viewed’…

telegraph

But rather lower (7th), for the BBC’s most read (below), even though it was running as the site’s main story…

bbc

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Ethical question of the day: would it be justifiable to pay for MPs’ expenses information?

It has not been officially confirmed or denied, so speculation is rife as to whether the Telegraph paid for the information that has provided a whole host of stories for the newspaper on MPs’ expenses.

The Press Association reports here on the Commons Authority’s call for a police investigation of the leak.

The Guardian reports:

“(…) [L]awyers said that, if claims the paper paid up to £300,000 for the information ‑ reportedly contained in a computer disk stolen from the parliamentary fees office ‑ were accurate, both the mole and the paper remained at risk of criminal prosecution.”

The Telegraph press office directed Journalism.co.uk to the television interviews with TMG’s assistant editor, Benedict Brogan, when we asked them for the official response to the claims.

Sky News reports:

“The Daily Telegraph declined to say how it obtained the information amid speculation the paper may have paid up to £300,000 for the leak.”

Roy Greenslade says his knee-jerk reaction was to think ‘scandal,’ upon the reports of the payment.

But, on second thoughts, Greenslade decides the contents of the disc ‘are definitely in the public interest’ and concludes:

“Finally, let’s also admit that the Telegraph story has dominated the rest of the media ever since it broke. We have all benefited from the story. Isn’t that justification enough, both for its publication and the way it was obtained?”

Greenslade is also clear in his view that the story is a ‘revelation’ rather than an ‘investigation’. Also, in a later comment he states:

“My posting is based on the premise that the Daily Telegraph paid. There is no proof of that, as yet, however. I certainly think the idea that the paper paid £300k or even half that is absurd. I’d imagine, if money has changed hands, it’s much more likely to be five figures.”

Benedict Brogan, Telegraph assistant editor, on his blog, urges his readers not to be ‘steered off course’ by allegations:

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the sourcing of this undertaking, and allegations thrown about by Sir Stuart Bell and Peter Mandelson. The politicians quite understandably want this to become a story about the media. Treat what they say as chaff, mere puffs of silver shredded paper designed to steer you off course and away from the central issues which they continue to misrepresent.”

Please leave your comments, and other relevant links below…

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