A heated exchange on Twitter between National Post technology reporter David George-Cosh and PR rep April Dunford led Post editors to issue an apology for George-Cosh’s behaviour.
The at-times crude exchange began when George-Cosh called Dunford for comment for a Post story and Dunford didn’t reply until the next day. He apparently followed up with a phone call and Dunford posted to Twitter about a call she received from a reporter, although she didn’t name the reporter or the publication. George-Cosh, however, responded to the Tweet through his Twitter account and the two proceeded to have a rather heated exchange. It was picked up by blogs including Torontoist, MediaStyle and Valleywag.
Here is a sample of the Twitter posts:
Later that day, Feb. 11, the National Post published an apology that explained that even though the reporter had posted through his own account, the incident still reflected badly on his employer. The apology reads:
“Today, a Financial Post reporter responded unprofessionally to another Twitter user on his personal Twitter account.
the remarks were made on the reporter’s personal Twitter account, the
conversation first began when the reporter was acting in his capacity
as a reporter for the Financial Post.
We hold — and will continue to hold — all our reporters to a higher standard in how they address anyone, in any forum.
We apologize for the reporter’s conduct.”
Dunford later wrote her own blog post about the experience and lessons learned, on which UBC journalism professor Alfred Hermida commented. He wrote:
“Aside from the breach of professional standards and etiquette, this incident shows what happens when a new media technology like Twitter starts entering the mainstream.
People start using it without understanding or realising the consequences of this mode of communication. There have been several high profile gaffes on Twitter, including the head of the BBC multimedia newsroom announcing senior editorial appointments by mistake: http://is.gd/iAC1″
George-Cosh had posted an announcement earlier that he is leaving the post to work as a journalist in Abu Dhabi and after the exchange he blocked public access to his Twitter account.