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How NOT To Tweet During A Disaster: A Journalist's Guide To Tweeting During A Crisis

If you were watching television on 9/11, then you probably remember the early initial reports—later proven false—that a car bomb had exploded outside of the State Department. This mistaken bit of speculation, which spread widely during that day’s chaos, was later used as “evidence” by those who accused the government and media of complicity in the attacks that brought down the World Trade Center.  Twitter has only made the business of news gathering and sharing in the wake of a disaster more treacherous. If, as a wise journalist once said, journalism is the first rough draft of history, then Twitter is the first rough draft of journalism. During nightmarish events like today’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, the micro-blogging service is both the cause of and solution to a whole lot of journalistic problems. Soon after details started to trickle in about the Boston attacks, George W. Bush’s former press secretary Ari Fleischer noted this murkiness with some smart rules for responding to a crisis as a member of the press, a newsreader, and an official government spokesperson:


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