Now The Guardian finds it can't just delete stories in the age of Twitter

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Well, we learnt our own harsh lesson about this recently, but now other media are finding they just can’t “pull stories” in the age of Twitter. MP Kerry McCarthy has been appointed as Labour’s new media campaign chief and a Guardian story outlined this in a story tonight on its site. Except it doesn’t. Tonight (Sunday night) the story has been pulled from the site and now shows a “We haven’t been able to serve the page you asked for” sign.

According to one fast blogger on the Independent newspaper’s blogs (hosted on the Russian-owned LiveJournal, of all places?!) a handful of the press were given the story under embargo for tomorrow, and Labour bloggers were to be briefed on it tonight – possibly in an effort to placate those social media mavens out there. Labourlist, perhaps the largest Labour blog, has already put out its 2,000 word Q&A with McCarthy tonight (Sunday) and it looks like the Guardian was supposed to link to that post. [Update: Indeed, it did].

But the Guardian, despite no doubt holding the story under the media management of Number 10, accidentally published their story before the bloggers were briefed. So guess what? The story was then retweeted about 50 times in about 10 minutes with lines line “Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy (@KerryMP) has been appointed as Labour’s new media campaigns spokesperson”. Er, guys…?

Now, in our own case, we tried to stop the accidental publication of a draft story because someone was in a job and could potentially lose it. In this case, someone has been given a job (cause for celebration, no?) and a fully-edited story has gone out. So running the story is really not as big a deal. But of course, that’s discounting the issue of the media needing to shaped in a certain way by spin doctors.

So instead of just running the story it appears The Guardian reporter got her news editor to pull it from the site. However, as you can see from our screen shot, the headline still shows on the URL: “Labour Appoints Twitter Tsar”. Hell, even McCarthy has admitted it on her own blog.

Ok, I know I shouldn’t throw a stone in our own glass house, but I’m just off to shake my head in bemusement…

[Update: As of 1am Monday the story was set live again. Oddly it also says McCarthy is “the most “influential MP” on Twitter – with more than 1,600 followers.” They obviously haven’t checked the account of her fellow Labour MP @tom_watson who has 4,996].

  • Anonymous Labour HQ staffer

    Seriously, Kerry is the best we’ve got? Shameful. And Labour HQ doesn’t ‘get’ new media – a Twitter csar isn’t going to change anything, esp. one who has absolutely nothing original to say. Look at her twitter page – it’s only got @replies.

  • Sean O'Grady

    Heh well I guess its not that surprising. You guys only realised this last week..

  • draftMedia (draftmedia) 's status on Monday, 17-Aug-09 02:21:14 UTC -
  • Rebecca Caroe

    Well, Sean, even if they only realised last week. At least that’s a week ahead of the Guardian.

    And that’s a long time online.

  • William Reeve

    Interesting piece. But the point about ‘the headline still in the URL?’. Come off it – haven’t you seen today’s similar piece

  • Anonymous (old) web user

    Thank goodness I have never been too bothered about Twitter. While I would not go quite as far as David Cameron ‘too many twitters…’ I think the hype for it (especially with radio presenters) is almost as bad as the hype for Google, when there are lots of other search engines (wish the presenters would get it into their head you are ‘searching for information’ and not just ‘googling ‘ – unless they hope that Google will give them money – fat chance!)

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