To paraphrase Liz Heron, the social media editor at the New York Times, a good rule of thumb when it comes to reporters using social media is don’t be stupid. But looking at the number of people fired for tweeting, it’s clear Heron’s advice is easier said than done. Without further ado, here’s the second half of “Journalists Who Were Fired for Tweeting.” (Check out Part 1 in case you missed it.)
5. David Shuster
Reporter David Shuster didn’t get the axe for his Twitter faux pas, but he was reprimanded by boss MSNBC. In January 2010, Shuster tweeted controversial responses to James O’Keefe, a conservative activist and journalist. MSNBC called the tweets “inapprioriate” and Shuster’s Twitter account went inactive for a few weeks. Did MSNBC tell him to cool it on Twitter? It’s still unknown, but many believe that is what happened.
6. Catherine Deveny
Catherine Deveny lost her gig as a columnist at Australia’s daily broadsheet, The Age, after tweeting some off color comments. The most infamous occurred while Deveny was covering an awards ceremony in August 2010. She tweeted, “I do so hope Bindi Irwin gets laid.” Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, was only 11 years old at the time. Upon firing Deveny, The Age’s editor-in-chief said her views were “not in keeping with the standards we set at The Age.”
7. Renee Gork
When Renee Gork lost her job at an Arkansas radio station in August 2010, rumors started flying it was because she wore a Florida Gators hat to a press conference with University of Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino. Petrino publicly scolded her and listeners complained. Turns out the blame fell on an unwise tweet. Dan Storrs, Gork’s boss, told Sports Radio Interviews Gork tweeted (on her personal Twitter account) that she would rather cover the Gators than the Arkansas Razorbacks. “We can’t allow employees covering the Razorbacks to get on the Twitter account and say how much she’d prefer to be covering the Gators and things like that,” Storrs said.
8. Markos Moulitsas
Blogger Markos Moulitsas was temporarily banned from MSNBC in 2010 after he had a Twitter feud with one of the station’s hosts, Joe Scarborough. It all started when Scarborough commented the media was ignoring a specific story. Moulitsas responded, via Twitter, referencing the death of one of Scarborough’s employees. It escalated from there. The result: MSNBC President Phil Griffin emailed Moulitsas and said, “After I became aware of the ugly cheap shot you took at Joe on Twitter, I asked the teams to take a break from booking you on our shows for a while. I found the comments to be in poor taste, and utterly uncalled for in a civil discourse.”
Do you know of any other reporters fired for tweeting? Do these tales make you think twice about what you send out on Twitter?