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Twitter: The Road to Reporting Relevance?

6a0105362b19d0970c01053689ee48970c-320wiHas Twitter become the great media divider, separating the wheat from the chaff? It’s beginning to seem that way. There are those journos who adapt to the 140-character restriction and then use it to expand their relevance to parts unknown, and there are those who don’t. The first is a group we are well-acquainted with (sometimes a little too well!) and their coverage tends to find its way into our posts time and time again simply because it is so timely and accessible. The other group? Well if they’re lucky enough to have already established a huge platform, like say the front and op-ed pages of the New York Times or a network newscast (we’re looking at you here BriWi!), we pay attention. Otherwise? Not sure.

WWD‘s Irin Carmon (@irincarmon) has taken a look at some of the journos who’ve managed to adapt and thrive! This on Time‘s (must-follow) Karen Tumulty a.k.a. @ktumulty:

These days, Tumulty juggles traditional Time magazine responsibilities — this week, a cover story with an Oval Office interview on health care — with her posts on Time’s Swampland blog and on Twitter, where she follows relevant sources on politics and health care reform. “Trying to adapt” means adjusting to the expectation that everything be backed up by a link to direct evidence, that posts are organic and can be updated with more information — and that absolutely everything she reports on will be second-guessed. She often addresses criticisms directly in a post’s comments, mixing it up with her Twitter followers on everything from the Congressional Budget Office to the fit of Sonia Sotomayor’s jacket.

“It’s almost like the Socratic method of journalism,” Tumulty says. “If you approach it the right way, it makes you a better reporter, and it makes you a sharper thinker.”

And this from Mark Knoller (@MARKKNOLLER), whose twitterfeed may be the most frequently mentioned on this blog.

“In 30 years of radio I would get an occasional letter, almost never a phone call,” says longtime CBS Radio White House correspondent Mark Knoller. “It was hard to track me down — the CBS phone in the White House isn’t listed. But on Twitter everybody feels totally at ease telling me what they think.” He has responded to followers who, for example, accuse him of being too easy or too hard on the president, or who ask him questions drawing on his institutional memory of the White House since Gerald Ford.

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