Whatever happens to Twitter, now that Elon Musk is tinkering with it like a kid who doesn’t understand how anything works, will have a profound impact on how sports media reports breaking news. It looks like at least one notable insider is already shifting their breaking news business away from Twitter, which could signal a major shift in the coming days.
On Friday, Jeff Passan broke the news that the Los Angeles Angels were trading Class A right-hander Alejandro Hidalgo for Minnesota Twins third baseman Gio Urshela. While uncovering a story like this is nothing new for Passan, he did so specifically on his Instagram account rather than Twitter. In fact, his mention of the news on Twitter pushed readers straight to IG, rather than providing information in the tweet as usual.
I received some trade messages on Instagram. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to follow me there. https://t.co/QF0LRF30kh
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 18, 2022
This was the second time Passan has done this in the past few days. On November 12, he broke the news of Rafael Montero’s new contract with the Houston Astros. Again, he left the details only on Instagram, driving Twitter audiences away from the platform to get the gist.
Breaking news on my Instagram: Rafael Montero, one of the best relief pitchers out there, has agreed to a free agent deal. Cash @JeffPassan on Instagram for team details and expected contract length and dollars: https://t.co/k9vubJvueC
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 12, 2022
“I think it’s time to break the news on Instagram too,” Passan wrote in the Nov. 12 post. “So follow me here for the latest free agent signings and trades.”
Passan’s Instagram account is also the link in his Twitter bio, although it’s unclear when it was placed there.
The ESPN reporter continued to pause a lot from breaking stories also on Twitter for the past week, but teasing some breaking news on another social media platform feels like a pretty significant shift in strategy.
Given the importance of Twitter followers to “insiders” and breaking-news reporters like Adam Schefter, Adrian Wojnarowski, and Shams Charania, it stands to reason that if Twitter disappears or ceases to function as a “town square,” it’s been, that kind of Reporters need to diversify or change the way they break news.
Awful Announcing reached out to ESPN to see if Passan’s Instagram posts are part of a larger strategy, but they declined to comment.
So far, it doesn’t appear that Passan’s contemporaries at ESPN are trying similar strategies, nor do any of the other big insiders seem to have been messing around with various social media platforms. But given how little any of us know about what’s next with Twitter, it stands to reason that Passan would be wise to consider a breaking news strategy that doesn’t rely 100% on tweets.
[Jeff Passan, Image via Jeff Passan’s Twitterfeed]