Media Mondays: The Post's Sally Quinn is tweeting again, for real this time
- (Flickr/Financial Times)
Sally Quinn, the Washington Post columnist and On Faith moderator, is known for many things, but tweeting is not one of them. Her activity on Twitter, since joining (apparently) in January 2010, has been sporadic at best. She tweeted irregularly for the first six months of that year, then appears to have taken a full year off before doing so again, in what TBD's Andrew Beaujon calls the "12-tweet rampage of July 26-27, 2011." Her account went quiet again until Oct. 5-6, when she tweeted three times, and since Oct. 31 she's tweeted eight times. What gives?
"There's no mystery here," she tells me. "The answer to the question is, my editors and coworkers — everybody is encouraging me to do Twitter."
It's not that she doesn't enjoy it. She calls tweeting "fun." The problem was, Quinn says, she felt like she was spending her whole life thinking about what to tweet next. "It just made me feel self-conscious. So I stopped.... But then I got, shall we say, seriously encouraged to it." The people doing the encouraging: Katharine Zaleski, the Post's executive director of digital news, and Melissa Bell of blogPOST.
Being a novice, Quinn has been assigned help: T.J. Ortenzi, a social media producer at the Post (and Quinn's cubicle mate), is training her. "He's actually the hero here," she says. "Long-suffering T.J." And how is she doing? In an email, Ortenzi told me, "Yes, Sally has received Twitter training as part of our newsroom-wide training efforts. She's been game to tweet and we're happy to guide her. I think the biggest hurdle for any Twitter newcomer is the general culture of the Twittersphere (I hate that word). Also the simple parts of a tweet -- "@," "RT," "MT," the inline tweet -- while they're ultimately easy to understand, they can be confusing to the uninitiated."
Quinn says she never wanted to be a full-time columnist because she didn't want to be forced to write something when she had nothing to say, adding, "I feel there's something so self-involved about the process." So she plans to tweet only when she feels the urge. "I just don't want to tweet some boring thing," she says. "If I tweet something, I want it to be interesting, because I want people to follow me, and they follow because they're going to learn something."
What Quinn's followers have learned from her in recent days: that she thinks Herman Cain "must stop stonewalling," and that D.C. is not as seductive as Paris. She also tweeted a link to a Post article about Kim Kardashian's divorce. If nothing else, then, her followers can expect a diversity of tweets, and perhaps on a more regular basis. "I think I'm going to stick with it now," Quinn says.
The man local broadcasters love to hate, and the columnist FishbowlDC loves to hate: DCRTV's Dave Hughes gets profiled by Washingtonian's new Capitol Comment blogger, Carol Ross Joynt, who asks, "What is it about Dave Hughes ... that has local broadcasting executives in a lather much of the time—so much so that they’re loath to even go on the record to talk about him? Is it that he’s right about rumors of hirings, firings, and makeovers in the Washington and Baltimore radio and TV market? Or is it that he is, as they claim, dangerously wrong?" Those questions are never fully answered, but FishbowlDC's Betsy Rothstein has a complaint of her own — about the relationship between Hughes and Joynt. Rothstein, who fails (or refuses) to link to the article in question, says Joynt has "spent the last three years feeding scooplets about herself to outlets like DCRTV, FishbowlDC and countless other Washington sites.... So Joynt gets to Washingtonian and her first in-depth profile is about…guess who? That’s right, Hughes, the 'journalist' who lifts more copy than anyone in Washington." Rothstein-Hughes just might be the best journalism rivalry in town.
Why some DCist readers prefer the site's mobile version, even on their computers: A few weeks ago, DCist announced to readers that "you'll also begin seeing a couple of posts every day from other -ist network sites pop up in the right side of the pretty section.... The hope is that these syndicated posts will provide you with access to more stories of interest that aren't necessarily based in the area... This won't change what we do on a daily basis, so no need to fret about us going national or anything." But some fans are fretting nonetheless, declaring that they don't read DCist for "crap from other cities," and that this crap makes the site "unreadable." It's a valid complaint. Of the 15 stories on the site last Wednesday, six of them, including one about Lindsey Lohan, had nothing to do with D.C. The solution, these detractors discovered, is to read the mobile version of the site, which, unlike DCist.com, doesn't feature posts from the other -ists. But there must be a better way, like adding a local-only option along with the "blog," "pretty," and "popular" view buttons. (CLARIFICATION: The above story count was done in "blog" view. Jen Chung, executive editor and co-founder of Gothamist, wrote me to say that only 4 percent of readers use that view, and that there are three times as many stories in the "pretty" view. Point taken.)
The Examiner has it in for Occupy Oakland. Have you seen the paper's landing page for 2012 election coverage yet? It's everything the rest of their website is not — clean and organized, with a tactful use of color. The content is a different story. For some reason Conn Carroll, a senior editorial writer, has written at least a dozen articles about Occupy Oakland for the page's Beltway Confidential blog, where such coverage surely doesn't belong. But Carroll's obsessed, and he'll be damned if he's not going to use that forum to share his obsession. "The Occupy movement is inherently violent," reads the title of one of his posts, which does absolutely nothing to bolster that argument. I asked him on Twitter why, if the movement is "inherently violent," we've seen no violence in D.C. Here was his reply:
Of course, if the movement were inherently violent, the numbers wouldn't matter.
After the jump: Cain overload, the Post can't count on Kaplan anymore, and Dan Zak observes fast food in Iraq.
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