Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

At Bloomberg, Twitter Grabs an Unlikely Convert

Twitter is old news to lots of journalists, but not all of them. Last week, for instance, Matthew Winkler, Bloomberg News’ editor in chief, sent out his very first tweet.

Straightforward stuff, but still enough to cause a minor stir among the Bloomberg ranks. That’s because Winkler, who enforces the news service’s spartan style, seems like the kind of newsman least likely to take to Twitter’s anything-goes ethos.

The opposite, in fact: Just a year ago, Winkler was sending out staff memos chiding Bloomberg reporters who used the service to write about stories they were covering.

But now even Bloomberg has a social media director, and a social media policy: reporters are encouraged to use Twitter, but not to break news on it. And Winkler seems to be trying it out as a show of good faith.

Top dogs at other very serious news organizations have found a way to use Twitter to both inform and entertain, even if there’s still some evident disdain. Last week the New York Times executive editor Bill Keller used Twitter to debate whether using Twitter made you stupid.

Don’t expect any of that from Winkler, though. He’s tweeted three times to date, and each one has been a sober note about accolades earned by Bloomberg reporters. Expect more of the same, he says, via email:

Peter Kafka: Why did you get on Twitter? What do you hope to accomplish?

Matthew Winkler: I want to share the most immediate and direct appreciation of Bloomberg’s reporting, and Twitter is ideal for that purpose.

What was your opinion of Twitter before you started using the service? Has it changed now that you’re tweeting?

I have always admired technology that makes the delivery of news more efficient and Twitter is a good example.

Your tweets to date have been links to stories about Bloomberg and a Bloomberg story. Should we expect more of the same, or do you expect you’ll venture outside Bloomberg?

Bloomberg News will always be the focus. It won’t be about me, it will be about us and helping people appreciate the quality and impact of our work at Bloomberg. That’s why my handle is @BloombergWay.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik