Tag Archives: octavia nasr

NY Times: ‘US editors still don’t want journalists to be human’

The New York Times has an article by Mathew Ingram of Gigaom who feels US news editors seem to be saying “don’t allow your journalists to be human, under any circumstances” when it comes to social media. The article is based on a social media policy overview from the American Society of News Editors which finds that “breaking news on Twitter is not advisable”, according to news editors.

There’s the typical media-industry bogeyman that lies behind most of these policies: the staffer who types things into Twitter without thinking, maybe even (gasp!) breaking news on the social network before his organisation has a chance to craft a story. And what happens then? Chaos! The very foundations of the media industry crumbling, dogs and cats living together — mass hysteria. None of that actually happens, of course, but most traditional media policies seem to harbor the fear that it might.

Ingram goes on to say:

To take just one example, the report mentions the case of Octavia Nasr, a senior editor at CNN with decades of experience in the Middle East, who posted something on Twitter expressing regret that a Hezbollah leader had died. Although he was known as a terrorist, Nasr said he was also a force for tolerance toward women in the region, and that’s why she said what she did. Defensible? Totally, as I wrote at the time. But CNN fired her. The ASNE report uses this as an example of why people should be careful what they say, but I think it’s an example of why organizations like CNN are dinosaurs.

Do people express themselves on social networks? Of course they do. Should they avoid being stupid or offensive? Yes. But to expect them to have no opinions — and then to fire or sanction them when they do — is naive in the extreme.

The report also states that breaking news on Twitter is not advisable — those kinds of reports should be saved for the newspaper, it says, because the purpose of social media is to “drive traffic” to the reporter or editor’s website. So presumably that means New York Times  media reporter Brian Stelter shouldn’t have re-tweeted the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed, and shouldn’t have pointed out how credible the report was because it came from the former Secretary of Defense’s chief of staff.

Ingram’s full article is at this link.

Are the social media policies of UK newsrooms more progressive than the US? Or is the message from editors that journalists should now be human and breaking news should not be the preserve of the newspaper?

Twitter claims another job as CNN senior editor fired over Hezbollah tweet

The Twitter career graveyard has begun slowly filling up. News today that CNN’s senior editor for middle east affairs has been sacked after 20 years with the company for voicing what was deemed to be an inappropriate sentiment via Twitter. Octavia Nasr publicly mourned the death of Hezbollah leader Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.

Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot.

Parisa Khosravi, CNN’s vice-president international newsgathering, said in a statement that Nasr’s credibility had been compromised.

Full story at this link…

Back in May, comedian and columnist for Australian newspaper the Age Catherine Deveny lost her slot on the paper following tweets she sent during the Logies awards ceremony.

Deveny defended herself, claiming that Twitter was like “passing notes in class, but suddenly these notes are being projected into the sky and taken out of context. Twitter is online graffiti, not a news source.”

“Wrong,” said the Age technology editor, “posts to Twitter are not private messages”.

Labour candidate Stuart MacLennan lost his job during this year’s general election campaign after what the Times called a “spectacular ‘Twitter suicide'”. MacLennan reportedly called the elderly “coffin dodgers,” before moving on to some more colourful language:

He had also labelled the Commons Speaker John Bercow a “t**”, David Cameron a “t***” and Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, “a b******”.