FFJ members have their say on Twitter blue ticks
Some striking examples of those not verified by the platform
Our newsletter last week on the apparent random nature of Twitter verification for freelance journalists unleashed a torrent of responses from our lovely community and apparently we are not the only ones perplexed by what it takes to get that blue tick.
It also highlighted to us once again what amazing work you are all doing. We’ve put together a list of just a few of those who got in touch with us who have been denied verification to show what ridiculous barriers Twitter seem to have put in place. Sorry we couldn’t include all of you in this list but believe us when we say it’s not you that’s not worthy, it’s whatever automated system they have in place to make these decisions.
An award-winning journalist and writer with bylines in The Guardian, The Times, The Independent and Daily Telegraph, Saima has years of experience having worked in local news and as a BBC journalist. Her debut novel The Khan was published this year to critical acclaim and has been shortlisted for the Portico Prize. Saima notes that apparently her Guardian articles “don’t pass muster” with Twitter.
Formerly associate editor at the Daily Mail’s Femail section, Jill has been a freelance feature writer and editor since 2008. Specialising in interviews, human interest and lifestyle, her bylines can be found in many places including the Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Red, Fabulous, Look, Glamour, Real People, Woman and Woman’s Own. Jill also worked with cancer sufferer and charity fundraising athlete Jane Tomlinson CBE and husband Mike to write their three bestselling books. She co-founded the FeatureMe Facebook group to match-make journalists with businesses and individuals with a story to tell or who want to raise awareness of a cause. Twitter told Jill there was not “enough proof” she was a journalist.
Having won awards for his popular Be Clever With Your Cash website, podcaster and Metro columnist Andy Webb told FFJ he was rejected by Twitter despite linking to his work for the Metro. Before moving into financial journalism in 2013 Andy worked for a decade at the BBC on programmes such as The Money Programme, The Culture Show and Crimewatch.
An experienced journalist writing about the environment and sustainability with bylines in The Guardian and Evening Standard, Anna also teaches journalism students at Plymouth Marjon University. Her first book Go Toxic Free: Easy and Sustainable Ways to Reduce Chemical Pollution will be published in January 2022. Most recently she investigated the synthetic chemicals in our bodies for BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth programme. Anna says she didn’t take her Twitter rejection too personally but it just makes their verification process seem a “bit shambolic”.
Having worked as a journalist for more than 20 years and writing regularly for major parenting magazines and national newspapers, Catherine is another member of the FFJ community who was told she was not ‘notable’ enough. In addition to bylines in The Sun, Sunday Mirror, Metro, Independent and Closer, Catherine is also a regular contributor to Mother & Baby magazine. Her portfolio career also includes working as a copywriter for a variety of clients.
Punteha van Terheyden
After working as a journalist and commissioning editor for some of the biggest magazine titles including Take a Break, Chat, Pick Me Up, Woman, Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Own, Punteha has also had a thriving freelance journalism career focusing on true-life journalism writing about those with inspiring and emotional stories to tell. She launched Lacuna Voices as a platform to showcase stories and writing often ignored by the mainstream media and to promote ethical journalism. She told FFJ that she doesn’t know what else to do to prove to Twitter she is a legitimate journalist if the thousands of bylines, years of experience and her own publication isn’t enough.
Another of our members who has been working as a journalist for more than 20 years, Lia is a sports and news journalist producer who has worked on '“all the big stories for Sky News”. She then moved to Sky Sports News and looked after all their Olympic coverage for London 2012, Sochi 2014, Rio 2016 and Pyeong Chang 2018. Lia now freelances three times a week for the BBC and spent the pandemic doing the 6pm and 10pm weekend BBC one sports bulletins. Her Twitter following is more than 17,000 but they have refused to verify her.
I don’t think we need any more evidence that Twitter’s verification procedures are not fit for purpose. In an age of so much misinformation and disinformation on Twitter, people need to know who are the experienced journalists they can trust. We do intend to keep pushing for clarification on this.
On the podcast this week…
We’re talking all about finding steady work. Whether it’s long-term contracts or building up a relationship with an editor in order to get regular work, it can be a great security blanket for freelancers. In this episode we talk to Mel Stern, freelance journalist, editor, producer, and charity communications consultant and Tufayel Ahmed, a freelance journalist, editor and journalism lecturer about how to do this.
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Triumph of the week
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