Science & Tech 8 February 2012 On Sky News, Twitter, and whether we would like journalists to be human Those who work for news organisations should, within reason, have a free hand in their personal twee Print HTML Those who work for news organisations should, within reason, have a free hand in their personal tweets and writings. Would we like journalists to be human? That's the question we should ask about the rules slapped on Sky hacks, forbidding them from retweeting other news sites or straying off their own specialisms. Do we want real people, with opinions and personalities, to be tweeting, or would we prefer a Borg-like newsbot collective? It'll be a pretty grey old world if we settle for the latter option. If you want journos to be frightened, feeble characters mimsying around corporate gags and guidelines, be my guest. But good luck when you try and claim your business is all about free speech. Journos are, after all, (mainly) people. They are often (relatively) good with words and (sometimes) like to read other people's stuff -- if that stuff is good they like to pass around examples of good stories and good writing. That's not really a corporate crime; it's just good manners and being professional. Sure, human beings have failings. Sometimes they say or do daft things; sometimes they make a mess of it; sometimes they link to things or retweet things that are a bit iffy. But so what? Does it really reflect so badly on the employer? It's embarrassing for everyone involved when someone does a "bad" tweet and their opponents pile in to draw attention to it. That kind of pack mentality around people who supposedly have transgressed is a feeble thing, and often makes those complaining look a lot worse than those at whom they're pointing their fingers. We shouldn't prevent people who work for news organisations having a free hand, within reason, in their personal tweets and writings. After all, they really are people, just like you and me. Honest. › On the political horizon: by-election mayhem Patrolling the murkier waters of the mainstream media Subscribe More Related articles “They pay me in Bitcoin”: What it’s like to work as an escort in the digital age Scientists have finally said it: alcohol causes cancer Cabinet audit: what does the appointment of Karen Bradley as Culture Secretary mean for policy?