Mayor Vince Gray and Examiner reporter fight on Twitter

The mayor ponders his next tweet. (Photo: Jay Westcott)

Correction:

Since the twitfight, Klopott has spoken with the mayor's office, but not the mayor himself.

Yesterday afternoon, the Examiner's Freeman Klopott broke this story about Mayor Vince Gray's plan to deploy D.C. firefighters to protect members of the Summer Youth Employment Program from getting mugged on payday. A good scoop. Later in the day, though, Klopott found himself in a position to get even greater scoops. Joining what he believed to be a conference call about the firefighters, he soon realized he was listening to an internal call among Gray's spokespeople. Klopott tweeted that he was staying on the line — inviting the wrath of the mayor, who, also on Twitter, challenged the reporter's journalism ethics.

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Also entering the fray: DCist editor Aaron Morrissey, City Paper managing editor Mike Madden, WAMU reporter David Schultz, and We Love DC editor Tom Bridge, among others. Here's the entire thread in mostly chronological order. (I've moved a few tweets around, for coherency's sake.) While I've never been in Freeman's exact position before, I hope my instinct would've been to make absolutely clear that I was a reporter — especially if I sensed my presence there was a mistake. But hey, that's just me! I have no interest in engaging in a twitfight myself, though perhaps it's too late for that now.

I have a call into the mayor's office, and an email in to Klopott. I'm not holding my breath, and anyway, the following exchange says it all.

UPDATE 11:14 a.m.: Klopott says his entry to the conference call was entirely automated, and when prompted to state his name after the beep, he did so — "so I assumed that my name had been announced." But he only spoke his first name, leaving out his surname and profession. He also wasn't sure that the recording of his name was broadcast to the other listeners: "I don't know how it works."

"I thought they knew I was there, and I was tweeting about it, and people were responding to me [on Twitter]," he said. When I suggested that he couldn't assume the people on the conference call were simultaneously following his Twitter feed, he replied, "I suppose not." As for why he didn't announce his presence once it was clear he was admitted to the call by mistake, he said, "It seemed like a pretty innocuous situation to me, and just kind of silly. If you look at what I tweeted, I didn't even know what was going on, and I said as much."

The call ended three or four minutes after Klopott entered; he had come in at the tail end, some 20 minutes after it began, he says. Given the twitfight that ensued, does he wish he'd done anything differently? "I might have hung up the phone, because this is not worth the energy," said Klopott. He has spoken with the mayor's since the following exchange on Twitter. What was said? "It was a private discussion," Klopott said, "but I think it ended on good terms."

Gray's office announces at 4:40 a 4:40 conference call on firefighters used to protect SYEP paydayless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Ok, they changed it to 5:15 and now I believe I'm listening to an internal conference call... staying on the lineless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

yes, I'm listening to conference call among Gray admin spokespeople I believe. They're talking about using tumblr for something.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Gray admin apparently "flirting" with idea of using tumble instead of a blog, I missed the beginning so don't have contextless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

.@FKlopott i really hope Gray's Tumblr is heavy on cat videos.less than a minute ago via Tweetie for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

@amorrissey I'm not sure what they're talking about re: specifics, it's pretty confusingless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

It sounds like they're prepping for an interview about social media. Not sure whose interview.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott How is it you're hearing these questions? It's a private PIO meeting, I believe.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

@DCDISB I called in expecting a call on firefighters and SYEP, not my fault I was given wrong infoless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott ok, still u could have hung up the phone once u realized. #justsayingless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@DCDISB if I did that, I wouldn't be doing my job!less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott I think ure good at ur job but I think there was some line crossed. It was private.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott it is. That's why @mayorvincegray is all about transparency and openness in govt. But I'm sure u didn't find out anything in d calless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@fklopott Did you announce your presence to the participants when you realized it wasn't the reporters' call you thought it was?less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

Nope, just when I logged on, and on Twitter MT @mayorvincegray: @fklopott Did you announce your presence to participants...less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@mayorvincegray @fklopott Didn't need to. Do reporters need to announce their presence every time they step into a room?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

good point MT @davidbschultz: @mayorvincegray @fklopott Do reporters need to announce their presence every time they step into a room?less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@fklopott If you're "in a room," potential subjects of your story can see you. Not the case here.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

@fklopott Is it not common journo practice to let subjects of your reporting know that you are, in fact, a reporter?less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

@mayorvincegray @fklopott If Freeman hacked his way into the call, that would be different. But he was invited in! (perhaps mistakenly)less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@mayorvincegray @fklopott @SamuelMoore In this case the onus was on the person who invited Freeman onto the conference call to informless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@mayorvincegray Mr. Mayor, let's stop with the questions. If you want to say something about my conduct then say it. I stand by my actions.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@fklopott I asked you two questions. You answered one of them. But I think we've both made ourselves clear.less than a minute ago via HootSuite Favorite Retweet Reply

@mayorvincegray. Time well spent on important priorities, Mr. Mayor. Instead, let's hire people who can use a conference bridge. @FKlopottless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott My thought is this: It's like you figured out the parabolic room at the Capitol.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

Interesting that @mayorvincegray upset I listened in on a call I was invited to & then told people I was listening. Very sly of me, I knowless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott Don't let the haters get on you, you were doing your job.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

Ouch // MT @mayorvincegray: @fklopott Did you announce your presence when you realized it wasn't the reporters' call you thought it was?less than a minute ago via YoruFukurou Favorite Retweet Reply

@FKlopott shortest way to say Gray was coming after you. 140 characters and all...less than a minute ago via UberSocial for BlackBerry Favorite Retweet Reply

@mikemadden true, or at least who ever is operating @mayorvincegray's account for him todayless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® Favorite Retweet Reply

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