Tweet or Tornado

by Mark on September 17, 2010

Ines Sainz, a reporter for Mexico’s TV Azteca, left the New York Jets locker room last Monday and left a ‘tweet’ for her fans. This Twitter post of 140 characters or less immediately began swirling in the world of digital information, gaining velocity and power each minute. Before the Jets could dive into a shelter the storm slammed into them like a tornado.

Within hours of leaving the stadium Ms. Sainz visited the NBC Today Show, CBS Early Morning, Fox & Friends, and ABC’s Good Morning America to explain her tweet. The NY Jets players and coaches made some wolf calls and other sexually-charged remarks to her in the locker room. The digital storm’s fury energized when the 24 x 7 news channels jumped in. Flashes of thunder boomed from the blogging community. “Was Ms. Sainz wearing inappropriate clothing that ignited the issue?” “Should women be in the locker room?” “Isn’t this sexual harassment?” “Will she sue the Jets?” By afternoon, before he was able to perform a diligent investigation, NY Jets owner, Woody Johnson apologized to the reporter. “We want all of our reporters, female or male, to be comfortable wherever they are, on the sideline, in the locker room or at a game. We have to make the working environment professional, representing the New York Jets well.”

My diversity class will discuss the merits of wardrobe and harassment. Despite her pain and suffering, the ‘Ines Sainz’ brand did rise this week. The Jets, while embarrassed, found a welcomed distraction to a loss. The storm that began with a tweet is a clear demonstration of two modern concerns: 1) information technology moves through traditional and social media at lightning speed. Rightly or wrongly, a reputation can be wrecked in nano-seconds. 2) Forget journalistic fact-checking. The news clouds are moving too fast each day in a highly charged competitive atmosphere. When you see “Fast Breaking News” roll at the bottom of your screen, assume it is rumors and innuendo. The facts, if ever, will surface above the receding flood waters as the next storm hits.

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