A recent New York Times article revealed that politicians are using Twitter to monitor the press, raising the question should political journalists change their behavior on Twitter?
The article, written by Ashley Parker of The New York Times, describes how Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign staff uses Twitter to not only engage with constituents but also to monitor reporters. Michael Falcone of the ABC News summed up well with this tweet, “Romney camp treats Twitter as an “early warning signal” for bad press.”
Parker writes “Mr. Romney’s aides say they can get a sense of where a story is headed before it is published simply by reading reporters’ Twitter messages.” His aides collect tweets sent from the press corps and use them to prep Romney for possible questions at press conferences. The staff also engages with reporters directly, sending “Twitter-inspired lecture[s], ranging from a simple “not cool” to something angrier,” Parker writes.
This could be a game changer for reporters covering the debates and elections. If candidates’ aides are monitoring their movements on Twitter this closely (perhaps using Muck Rack Pro), reporters could be giving their hand away to campaign staffs without even knowing it. With many reporters just getting used to covering debates and political campaigns on Twitter, however, it could be hard for them to adopt even newer tweeting practices.
What do you think? Should journalists be cognizant of the fact that campaign staffs are monitoring their tweets and alter their behavior or proceed as normal?