Remember that time Derrick Washington got mad at me on Twitter?

  1. Last week I read an article about a former MU football player restarting his college football career at Tuskeege. Derrick Washington was kicked off the Missouri football team in 2010 after he was arrested on charges of sexual assault, and less than two weeks later, he was arrested on charges of domestic assault. He was convicted of the sexual assault charge and pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree domestic assault.

    In the article I read Tuesday, Washington’s new coach described him as “a good kid who just messed up.” I happen to think “just messed up” is not a fair characterization of gendered violence. So I tweeted about it. 

    And Derrick Washington responded.

  2. WashMeDoIt
    @AliciaStice Clearly you don’t know what happened… Can’t believe everything you read.
  3. Now, I’m not sure if you clicked on the links to stories about his case. If you did, you might have noticed something: I wrote them. 

    When Washington was arrested in 2010, I was the crime editor at The Maneater. I wrote the first three stories about the arrests, and I pitched and edited everything else we published about them between September of 2010 and May of 2011. One of my colleagues and I shared an award for news writing from the Missouri College Media Association for one of those stories.

    Now I work at the Columbia Missourian, a newspaper that extensively covered his arrests, though I never handled any of that content. Anyone who saw my tweet could find out where I worked just by looking at my Twitter bio. 

    So what did I reveal about myself with this post? That I think he’s guilty of the crimes he was sentenced to jail time for? Yep. That I’m a feminist? Sure. That I lack integrity? I really don’t think so.

    I think my Twitter account is a pretty fair representation of who I am in my professional and private life. 

    I use it to share what I think is interesting.

  4. AliciaStice
    Great/scary story from @finleybruce: Mines leak toxic metals into watersheds, but fear of lawsuits prevents cleanups http://www.denverpost.com/environment/ci_21499958/risk-suits-preventing-vital-cleanup-abandoned-mines-colorado
  5. AliciaStice
    The Rockies announcers might be higher on this list of biased baseball announcers if they ever had a win to brag about. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578016652376246198.html?mod=e2tw
  6. I use it to find sources:
  7. AliciaStice
    @dangrote Hi, Daniel – I work at @CoMissourian. We’re putting together a Facebook album of today’s game. Would it be OK if we used that pic?
  8. AliciaStice
    @MerylCA Any chance you’d want to talk to me for a story I’m writing about local wineries for @KCBizjournal tomorrow? You can DM me 🙂
  9. I use it to share what the news means to me:
  10. westongentry
    MT Lin_Shapley: @denverpost 1A sneak peek #theatershooting http://pic.twitter.com/bVtEbU4X
  11. AliciaStice
    It’s surreal to see my neighborhood on the news like this. This kind of violence goes beyond description. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21118201/unknown-number-people-shot-at-aurora-movie-theater
  12. For me, commenting on the Washington story is a natural extension of this kind of sharing. I didn’t say anything while the cases were still open, but now that they’re closed and he is no longer a focal point of Columbia news, I don’t think I overstepped with my post. 
    This episode got me thinking, though, about where I should draw the line between transparency and professionalism. There’s tremendous pressure on reporters my age to come in and save newsrooms with social media; to be clever, open and personable with our readers. But we’re still bound by very traditional ideas of what journalists should share. 

    If I can’t say something as simple as “‘just messed up’ doesn’t describe domestic abuse or sexual assault,” I don’t see the point in trying to have an authentic social media presence.
    Thoughts?

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8 Responses to Remember that time Derrick Washington got mad at me on Twitter?

  1. shainac says:

    I agree. Had you been covering his arrest and made these comments, I don’t think that would be in your best interests professionally. But you didn’t convict him, a court did, and I think you’re allowed to react with the rest of the world after that point. You didn’t call him out personally (such as making an ad hominem attack or calling him names) but I think we as humans should question that quote the coach said. Messing up is spilling your cereal on the floor or procrastinating on a project ’til the last minute. Assault is crime. Let’s call a spade a spade.

  2. celiaampel says:

    This is such a hard call! I agree with Shaina that your words don’t convict him. Then again, I suppose people could take your tweet to mean you think his crimes define who he is as a person, which might be an inappropriate statement to make. I’m interested to see what others think about this, because I am constantly posting feminist commentary. I don’t think it crosses the line, but I don’t always know where the line is.

  3. KateE says:

    Tough situation. Part of me wants to know how he found your tweet; you didn’t direct it toward him, so unless he follows you, I don’t know how he saw it. So that means he regularly looks for people commenting on his situation? Of course he’s going to find people who don’t think he’s wonderful.

    As far as the journalism aspect goes, I think it’s important that we remember that we’re human. Like Shaina said, if you have been covering his case before the conviction and posted this, it would have been unprofessional. And I don’t think he should take this as against him as much as against the (insert adjective here) coach who made the comment.

  4. AnnW says:

    Ms. Slice, he was not mad at you he just said you don’t know anything about hsi situation. There were reporters from the Missourian who actually sat in on the trial who felt that he should not have been found guilty as well as other journalist in the court room. There were even some journalist who reported wrong information who actually sat in the courtroom. That is why you can’t believe everything you read. What I challenge you to do is some investigative reporting. Compare what was told the police in initial police reports and what was stated in court. Both the accuser and the witness changed their story. I’m a firm believer that the truth remains constant, it never changes. When you tell the truth, you don’t have to worry about what you tell this person or that person becasue it will be the same. Well both of their stories changed, the accuser told several different versions of what happened. She stated to police initially that she thought it was Derrick, never could say 100% that it was him, in court she stated she did not know who was in her room, it was too dark and she could not see. When exactly did these woment perjure themselves, to the police or in trial? Who is to decide when a person is telling the truth? Meanwhile, a person’s life is on the line and it’s journalist who simply want to believe that everyone accused is guilty that get’s to write these stories. It’s okay if you believe he’s guilty, it;s your right. But when you journalist decide to be biased in your reporting and you sway readers to your opinions is when it’s dangerous. He was guilty before the trial even started becasue of the reporters who believer that everyone who accuses is a victim. Sometimes the accused is the victime. There are many people in prison now becasue a jury found/made them gulty. Several have been in prison for many years before they are relased. You can’t give someone their life back. He turned down many plea bargains, and the last ditch effort of the prosecutors to guranted that he would only server 120 days total, no probation time if he admitted guilty. Many people facing time, would have jumped at that offer. He did not, he took his chances. I challenge you to compare the police reports with the sworn in statements.

  5. Travis says:

    Lol, Alicia “Slice”

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