September 30, 2022

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Radio Roundtable: Twitter-Aflac and Chrysler; social media “gottcha” journalism; and a blogger’s libel case

Radio Roundtable: Twitter-Aflac and Chrysler; social media “gottcha” journalism; and a blogger’s libel case

This week, co-host Sarah Wurrey joins Jennifer Zingsheim on the Roundtable to discuss Aflac and Chrysler’s Twitter problems, NPR’s run-in with “gottcha” journalism with a social twist, and a blogger is forced to pay $60,000 in a libel case–even though his post was proven to be truthful.


This week’s show is 30 minutes in length.

First, Jen and Sarah discuss Twitter’s use in marketing for companies–specifically, whether recent events have made it more of a minefield for companies. Sarah says no, that the Chrysler and Aflac cases are just good reminders that you need to be very careful when using Twitter. For Chrysler, the issue is making sure that you’re careful about managing multiple accounts. For Aflac, Sarah notes that Gilbert Gottfried was a known entity before Aflac hired him–his type of humor should have been considered. Jen points out that timing is everything–and that even the successful Red Cross “mixed Tweet” incident could have ended differently if something had been in the news then that would have altered the public’s perception of the appropriateness of the Tweet.

Next, NPR was the target of a piece of online, “gottcha” journalism recently. Conservative activist James O’Keefe targeted the organization in an undercover “sting” designed to embarrass NPR. The speed at which the video was transmitted to blogs, made it to news, and led to the resignation of NPR’s CEO Vivian Schiller was astonishing. Is this the pace of news now, or was the realization that the video had been heavily edited after the fact enough of a cautionary warning? Both Jen and Sarah think that this type of “journalism” will continue, despite the obvious flaws.

Finally, Jen and Sarah talk about a recent jury verdict in the case against a blogger in Minnesota. The case is interesting because even though the blogger was found to have made a truthful statement–the judge ruled that the blogger could be sued for “tortious interference”–and was ordered to pay the plaintiff $60,000. Jen and Sarah discuss the potential for a “chilling effect” on bloggers, and how this case and the recent settlement paid by Courtney Love may impact blogging. Jen feels that this move towards litigation is part of the maturation process of social media, which was bound to develop after a seeming “wild west” phase.

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