As with any form of communication there are multiple opportunities for misunderstanding. I believe a misunderstanding lead to someone following me on Twitter to un-follow me. Instead of asking me about what I meant, the follower decided to call me out on Twitter and to un-follow me. I admit it's hard not to take this personally.

Last night I left work while there was an active shooting in Greeley. There was nothing more that I could do. A freelance photographer was on the scene. The Under Sheriff had been paged to call with information on the situation. I couldn't even hear what was happening because none of the scanners were picking up the Weld County Sheriff's Department.

I posted this Tweet:

"Okay.. really don't like not being able to hear an incident where 4 people have been shot...none of the 11 scanners on the desk R getting it."

I logged into Twitter this afternoon to find this @ reply from someone who had been following me:

"Perhaps experts busy saving lives? "Unfollow U." RT @MistyMontano: don't like not hear(ing)..4..shot...none of...11 scanners..R getting it"

I checked, the person had stopped following me after he sent that Tweet.

I deal with opinions and comments all day at the station via phone and email. Read my post from today "Thank you, I'll pass your comment along" to get a glimpse of the type of calls I answer. At least over the phone I have the opportunity to explain decisions, statements or what-not.

In this case I sent two @ replies, 15-hours after I'd received his Tweet comment. (Yes, I said 15-HOURS! Once I logged off last night, I didn't log in until I came back into work today. I spent the morning outside!)

I sent:
"What? RT @(soandso): Perhaps experts busy saving lives? "Unfollow U." RT @MistyMontano: don't like not hear(ing)..4..shot...none of... ..."
"@(soandso) I definitely didn't mean any emergency responders should be speaking to me... I meant I wished scanners received more channels"

He never replied. I was never able to explain what I'd meant. He passed judgment and quit communicating.

If he'd responded I would have told him what had happened last night. If after that he still chose to un-follow, then fine. Then at least he'd have made an educated decision.

So I'm going to explain myself now.

If you review my Twitter stream regarding the Greeley shooting you'll see I was frustrated that I couldn't get any information. Information doesn't just come from dispatchers and emergency crews on scenes. Often the emergency crews are too busy to respond to me. I understand that.

While we won't go on the air with unconfirmed scanner chatter, listening to the scanner helps me gather information. This is information I use to help the news crews in the field by keeping them up to date on police activity. I want to keep my crews safe as much as I want to get the story. Most importantly, and every journalist should agree with me, news crews need to stay out of the way of emergency responder activity. Many times I hear on the scanner where the media staging area is long before I get it through official sources. I'm able to move my crew to that area, which is safe and out of the way, faster than if I were to wait for a call back.

When I sent my Tweet I was sharing my frustration that I COULDN'T HELP AT ALL. I feel so helpless in these times. A photographer was on the scene and I was useless.

In any way did my original Tweet imply I was trying to interrupt police activity? I truly don't understand how such a harsh judgment was passed. As I said, all forms of communication, even Twitter, can lead to misunderstanding. Perhaps Twitter is more susceptible to such misunderstanding because it's so fast and short with only 140 characters. As a journalist this is something to always keep in mind. It is important to be as clear and possible in hopes to never mislead. If that happens too much, then trust is lost.