ESPN’s new social media strategy prohibits talent and reporters from breaking news on Twitter

ESPN Ultimate Remote Microsite
Innovation, ESPN style.

You can read the full report here, but there isn’t much to see beyond that whole part about pretending like social media isn’t the ultimate breaking news outlet:

Do not break news on Twitter. We want to serve fans in the social sphere,but the first priority is to ESPN news and information efforts. Public news (i.e. announced in news conferences) can be distributed with- out vetting. However, sourced or proprietary news must be vetted by the TV or Digital news desks. Once reported on an ESPN platform, that news can (and should) be distributed on Twitter and other social sites.

ESPN obviously wants news to break on ESPN or, which makes sense in the abstract. The problem is that neither a cable station nor a website can compete with social media when it comes to breaking news.

As I see it, this strategy will leave ESPN reporters and talent at a disadvantage against the competition. Now the competition’s tweets about breaking news will be what everyone is retweeting. Perhaps ESPN reporters and talent will respond by retweeting these tweets too. They want to be a part of the breaking news conversation too, and may not want to wait for the official ESPN breaking news message to come out.

There is nothing wrong with breaking a story on Twitter and then telling your followers that more will be coming shortly. In these follow-up tweets, it makes sense to link to Web and video content that helps tell the fuller story.

Twitter has become the go-to place for breaking news to me. It just organically happens. If ESPN doesn’t want to break news on Twitter, there are plenty of other outlets, especially new media ones, that will.