News Column

Tweets by Chicago Reporter Spark Online Sparring

May 1, 2012

Robert Channick


Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Joe Cowley discovered this week just how hard it is to take back a tweet.

Apparently delayed while waiting for a flight Sunday, he fired off a series of tweets to his 9,000 or so followers, likening flight attendants to Sasquatch and questioning the abilities of the plane's "chick pilot."

His observations sparked a real-time Twitter feud with Upstate New York-based sports reporter Sloane Martin, and the exchange soon went viral. The story was picked up by the Web site Deadspin, which printed much of the online sparring match.

By Monday, Cowley's Twitter account @cst_cowley had been deleted, but the dialogue was not so easily expunged from the Internet. Cowley's regular work appeared in the paper Tuesday, but his extracurricular writing did not go unnoticed by new Sun-Times editor-in-chief Jim Kirk.

"Recently, a reporter in our newsroom, Joe Cowley, made offensive comments on his Twitter account," Kirk said Tuesday. "The Chicago Sun-Times is an institution with important social responsibilities, and we expect those who represent our paper to act with the respect and sensitivity that our readers deserve. Mr. Cowley's remarks were offensive and he has been reprimanded appropriately."

Neither Cowley nor Martin could be reached for comment Tuesday.

Source: (c) 2012 the Chicago Tribune

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