An excerpt from my latest column for Poynter:
Update: After saying he planned not to be on Twitter during Thursday’s first round, Schefter actually did do a few tweets. However, he didn’t tip any picks.
Schefter admits being told not to tweet during the draft “feels very odd.” Yet when he shut it down prior to last year’s opening round, he also found it liberating.
“If someone else tweets out news, my bosses don’t care,” Schefter said. “I’m almost granted immunity. It was refreshing. I was able to concentrate on reporting stories (for the telecast) without having to worry about putting up tweets. It almost felt like what it was like to be a sportswriter 20 years ago.”
Schefter was that reporter 20 years ago when he covered the Denver Broncos for the Denver Post. He had plenty of scoops on the beat. He would file his story; it would get edited; and people would read it when the paper hit the doorstep the next morning. Meanwhile, his newspaper competitors couldn’t follow up on his scoop until the following day.
“Back then, the shelf life of a story was 24 hours,” Schefter said. “Now it’s 24 seconds. Twitter has completely redefined how we operate. The job is different.”
Twitter now has Schefter on call 24/7. A few weeks ago he was at a New York restaurant with his wife and friends on a Friday night when his phone started buzzing. He thought, “What’s going on here?”
Somebody told him Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey was receiving a contract extension. “I got the contract terms while we were having appetizers,” Schefter laughed.
Schefter excused himself to do additional reporting and then post his tweets.
“My family has become very understanding about it,” Schefter said. “They know what my job is about. News can break at any moment.”
Schefter isn’t alone in Twitter shutdown. Big Lead reports NFL has asked all its broadcast partners to not tweet out picks tonight.