Readers' Representative Journal

A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards

Category: Twitter

What do journalists do in social media workshops? Tweet, of course

Social media guru Sree Sreenivasan shared his expertise at The Times on Monday, and editors and reporters promptly put his advice to good use on Twitter... 


Headline changed after readers respond to poorly worded tweet

Zimmerman tweet

Sometimes it takes fewer than 140 characters to make a big impression -- the wrong impression, in the case of a tweet sent from our @latimes Twitter handle Tuesday morning.

The tweet in question referenced a recently published story about George Zimmerman, the man at the center of the case of the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. The text of the tweet closely followed the language of the story's original headline:


Readers were quick to respond on Twitter, objecting to the tone of the tweet and headline, which they interpreted as supportive of Zimmerman's fundraising efforts. 

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Seattle residents to Times reporter: 'Who are you calling wimps?'

Seattle snow

Times Northwest correspondent Kim Murphy's recent story about the snowstorm in western Washington state -- in particular its headline, "Snow wimps: Seattle is shut down by first real snow of the season" -- didn't sit well with a number of Seattle residents, many of whom seemed to take special offense because the story originated from a Los Angeles news organization.

Murphy's story has been a topic of discussion for the Seattle Times and Seattle's KING-5 News ("The LA Times?! I will listen to the LA Times when it describes the microclimates on Kim Kardashian's continental derriere. That, it would know."), led to an interview on the city's KIRO FM and caused a mini-uproar on Twitter. (Apparently not all Seattleites take criticism over their response to winter weather as lightly as the creator of this series of videos, which we can't show here due to a wee bit of rough language.)

Thursday morning, Murphy, formerly The Times' Moscow bureau chief, reported that the storm "turned ugly ... blanketing much of western Washington in slick sheets of ice," prompting Washington's Gov. Christine Gregoire to declare a winter storm emergency. Hundreds of thousands of western Washington homes were without power as of midday as a result of the storm, and Oregon was facing its own problems as a result of flooding. 

Below, some of the responses to The Times' story from Twitter users. (Unfortunately, profanity prevented us from including a few of our favorite tweets.)

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Fallen trees are seen along a section of Central Avenue in Kent, Wash., after an ice storm, on Jan. 19. Credit: John Lok / McClatchy Tribune News Service  



On Twitter: Our mistake, your amusement

Ang Lee

Earlier today, our main Twitter account, @latimes, mistakenly tweeted a three-letter bit of nonsense. No link, no nothin'; it simply read "ang."

Before we had a chance to delete the offending tweet, though, many of our followers had seen and responded to it. Here are a few of our favorite responses:

-- Lindsay Barnett, @latimessocial

Photo: Director Ang Lee. Credit: Kin Cheung / Associated Press

Here we go again: Kadafi vs. Gadhafi vs. el-Qaddafi

Moammar Kadafi The leader of Libya is once again making front-page headlines. And there's nothing like large type to make people notice that The Times doesn't spell his name the way other news organizations do.

The man we call Moammar Kadafi is Muammer el-Qaddafi in the New York Times, Moammar Gaddafi in the Washington Post and Moammar Gadhafi in Associated Press articles.

It’s no wonder readers think the L.A. Times has a mistake. But all of the spellings are transliterations from Arabic, and so all are interpretations.

Many news organizations, including the L.A. Times, tackled the question in February. You can check out what Time magazine and the Christian Science Monitor had to say, too.

We began using Kadafi in 1969, when the rebel leader seized power, under guidance from our Middle East correspondent at the time. He advised that the sound that begins the leader’s name was best translated as a “k”. (That also explains our spelling of Koran vs. AP’s Quran.)

Some of the discussion on Twitter:

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Overheard on Twitter: In defense of teachers, wind energy, the Angels

An op-ed column by a charter school teacher in South Los Angeles drew praise this week. Other Twitter users were disappointed about coverage of wind energy and having to search for Angels scores.

The comments, compiled by Ebony Bailey:

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Overheard on Twitter: Sinaloa drug cartel and a familiar headline

This week, Twitter users were talking about Richard Marosi's four-part series about the Sinaloa drug cartel, recognizing headlines, and commenting on coverage and writing.


Overheard on Twitter: Enough about Casey Anthony

Los Angeles Times readers on Twitter were relatively quiet this week, perhaps still recovering from the Carmegeddon-that-wasn't. They had some general darts and laurels about coverage. But one overriding theme was Casey Anthony, and how they've heard enough.

The compilation by Ebony Bailey follows...

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Overheard on Twitter: 'Carmageddon' and Patt vs. Zooey

Two themes dominated Twitter talk about The Times this week: The impending "Carmageddon" shutdown of the 405 freeway, and the Op-Ed spat between columnist Patt Morrison and actress Zooey Deschanel.

The comments, compiled by Ebony Bailey...

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Overheard on Twitter: A cool story, a heat wave and an unusual anatomy lesson

This week, Twitter users were liking stories about L.A.'s shrines to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Mexico's pioneering attorney general, commenting on The Times' tweets, suggesting ways to illustrate the heat wayve and lamenting an op-ed piece about Kim Kardashian's rear end.

A roundup of comments compiled by Ebony Bailey ...

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Overheard on Twitter: Dodgers bankruptcy and a 'gripping' read

In this week's installment, Twitter users were talking about The Times' coverage of the Dodgers bankruptcy and Christopher Goffards' two-part series about Luis Gonzalez III, and commenting on coverage and writing.

A roundup of comments compiled by Ebony Bailey ...

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Overheard on Twitter: 'Whitey' Bulger, a new commenting system for blogs

This week, Twitter users were talking about The Times' coverage of the "Whitey" Bulger arrest, the switch to Facebook commenting for blogs, accuracy and writing.

A roundup of comments, compiled by intern Ebony Bailey...

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