Fast Company‘s Adam Penenberg (best known for exposing Stephen Glass’ journalistic fraud, which later became the basis for the movie Shattered Glass) recently made headlines when he broke a story about a major verdict against Ford, which had been sued over the death of the New York Mets’ Brian Cole, who died when his Explorer rolled over.
While the Ford story was big news, the groundbreaking thing about it was how Penenberg got the story out. In what he describes as a “Tweetapalooza”, the journalist cranked out a story over a thousand words long… one 140-character-or-less tweet at a time.
While this may seem like a novel project that most journalists would only want to reproduce in some kind of emergency, some journalists—like those in Cuba, for instance—might be able to learn a lot from Penenberg’s tweetathlon. After all, he not only broke the story, but got others in the mainstream media to pay attention and follow his lead.
Caimán Journalism Training is working on ways to frame this as a case study for Cuban journalists to draw from as they look for new, innovative ways to break through—or walk around—the obstacles their government puts in their way. While we all want to see Cubans have access to the tools many of the rest of us take for granted, pioneers like Adam Penenberg demonstrate that there’s plenty Cubans can accomplish with just the phones in their pockets.
—Nicolás A. Jiménez
On a lighter (but still related) note, here is one of my favorite tweets from Penenberg. This one’s directed at his peers, who he obviously felt could have done more to seek out a big story.
You can follow Adam Penenberg’s Twitterings here.