Twitter is not a source: Columnist gives advice to up and coming writers

Mike Harrington, sports columnist for the Buffalo News, stopped by Niagara University’s Writing for the Web class to talk about life as a journalist, and the increased use of the internet by news papers.

Harrington has been covering sports since 1987 and started as a high school sport reporter, before working his way up to the Buffalo News. He currently covers MLB news, the Buffalo Sabres and is a secondary sports columnist.

“My job didn’t change much from 1987 unril about 2006. We used to have a lot of down time on road trips, and now we have so much to update on the web on top of our usual coverage,” says Harrington.

He went on to say that the events on September 11, 2001 changed news and the use of the internet. “It has to be instantaneous now, and a lot of those changes came after 9/11. Now the Buffalo news and other papers update their sites 24/7.”

Harrington also commented on his personal use of Blogs and Twitter to help promote his columns. He stays in touch with fans more frequently and can update his accounts at any time, allowing his information to be up to date.

He cautioned the class about social media and journalism, “Twitter is not a source!” This saying came up frequently throughout the discussion while giving examples of rumors that were proven false by researching other sources.

In terms of advice Harrington had this to say, “When live Tweeting at a game or any event, have some analysis. It makes you seem more credible and provides more information.”


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