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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Novo to Social Media: Report the Facts

A Twitter friend was surprised I did not respond "2 the Charlie Kimball thing- esp since your journalistic integrity was questioned. :("

I had no idea what "thing" he was referring to, but rather than email him and check the facts as any good journalist would do, I just searched Twitter and found a post on Kerri's Six Until Me blog about Charlie Kimball that mentioned me, social media, and journalism "principals" (see "Charlie and the Twitter Factory"). This has to be what my friend was referring to. It's just an assumption, mind you, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Kerri was obviously concerned about the "backlash towards Charlie" and cited my post "Novo Nordisk's Branded (Levemir) Tweet is Sleazy Twitter Spam!."

"I do not like to see Charlie, the guy, under such attack," says Kerri. For the record, I did not "attack" Charlie, "the guy" and I challenge Kerri to quote me where I attack Charlie Kimball personally.

But that's not my main issue. In the post Kerri interviews Ambre Morley, Associate Director of Product Communications at Novo Nordisk. You can read the interview. I just want to focus on the the journalism "principal" aspect.

Here's the relevant section:
Kerri: How has Novo felt about the blog backlash to @racewithinsulin, and how has Novo moved to protect themselves and Charlie?

Novo: If no one talks about what you do, you probably haven't made much of an impact. That said, it would be nice if the talk was all positive and more importantly, true. We encourage people to ask questions and give us an opportunity answer. We're pretty transparent about our challenges and open to discussion about any ideas to make it better. There were some false assumptions gaining traction, but that's also the nature of this business. You can never please everyone, but you can only hope that social media will adopt some of the principals of traditional journalism and report the facts, [my emphasis] before making assumptions. We're working to move quicker to respond but also encouraging anyone to just ask. As for Charlie, he has been great. He's in a profession where he already has a lot of attention on him and is working with us to help make the page a success.
"you can only hope that social media will adopt some of the principals (sic) of traditional journalism and report the facts..."

First of all, it's principles, not principals. I didn't go to journalism school, but a "principal" is someone to whose office you are sent when you misbehave in school. "Principle," on the other hand, is a rule, law or general truth.

Let's get to the journalism principles, which Morely implied I lacked.

As I have said before, I don't need no stinkin' journalism principles because I refuse to be boxed into a journalism niche that corporate PR people like Morley feel comfortable with (see "The Social Media Revolution Will Not Be Televised").

Morley speaks about assumptions. She claims, for example, that all the posts are written by Charlie himself. Novo only advises him about how to phrase things when mentioning brand names so that FDA regulations are obeyed.

Any good journalist, of course, would ask Charile if he wrote all those posts on Race with Insulin. But I could not ask him, because he does not follow anyone on that account. When I found the @CharlieKimball personal account, I noted a suspicious retweeting of posts from that account to the @racewithinsulin account. It didn't take any journalistic principles to see that the heart and soul of Charlie was being edited out of his personal posts before they made it over to Race with Insulin (see "Novo Nordisk Selectively Copies & Edits Kimball's Tweets").

Kerri likes Charlie Kimball and so do I. A personal friend of Charlie's emailed me and told me what a great guy he is. But this friend also wished Charlie had not made that post about Levemir because it didn't sound like something Charlie would do. See, like any good journalist, I also have my deep throats. If that's not principled journalism, then I don't know what is!

2 comments:

  1. Hey John,

    I'm glad to hear your perspectives, too. I'm also glad you and I see eye-to-eye on how we view Charlie as a person. That's the one that matters most to me, as a PWD.

    And on the Novo typo, I have to admit, I didn't change a THING about what she sent to me because I didn't want to tamper with their message at all. But I did forget to add my own [sic] in there. Thanks for pointing that out, and I'll go add that now.

    Best,
    Kerri.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sorry to pick on principal v. principle. But in the context of the journalism comment, it seemed appropriate to demonstrate that we all lack something that distinguishes the rabble from true journalists. Not that there's anything wrong with the rabble!

    BTW, Charlie did get back to me personally via Twitter, through his @CharlieKimball account. I asked him if he were racing anywhere in the south in August where I might meet him personally. Unfortunately, he is not. Too bad he can't have that kind of interaction with PWDs through @racewithinsulin.

    ReplyDelete

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