An Essex newspaper which sparked a massive reaction when it used a teacher’s Twitter account as the basis for a story has invited readers to a debate on the issue.
The Billericay Gazette’s story on assistant head teacher Charlotte Berry published updates that she had posted on her @talktoteens Twitter account which contained what the paper described as ‘lewd comments’ and ‘bad language’.
This prompted a mass reaction from readers, many of whom felt the article was unjustified and would only result in damaging Mrs Berry’s career.
Some comments on the paper’s website, which were later taken down, slammed the newspaper for running the article, calling it a non-story and a result of lazy journalism.
The issue will now be debated at a Tweet Up event hosted by the paper next month to be attended by the newspaper editor and editor-in-chief.
In a statement, Alan Geere, editor-in-chief for the Essex Chronicle Media Group Limited said: “The paper’s front page article about assistant head teacher Charlotte Berry’s expletive and sexually graphic public messages on Twitter was picked up by the national papers, but made a bigger bang on the micro-blogging website itself.
“The newspaper and its journalists received a backlash of complaints and abuse from the online community following publication on Wednesday, October 19.
“Sister paper, the Brentwood Gazette has been holding monthly Tweet Ups since June. The events are an opportunity for local tweeters to meet in person and discuss all thing social media.”
Previous tweet-ups by the Gazette have attracted around 40 local people and have been held at a pub in the town. The next meeting is set to be held between 7-9pm on 9 November.
Gazette editor Neville Wilson and Alan Geere will be there discussing the story, the issues and the backlash and are inviting readers and members of the online community to join the debate in person or on Twitter using #talktoteens.