For his part, Temple has not exempted anything from possible Twittering — least of all funerals — and shrugged off the criticism, in part because subscribers haven't led the outcry. "It's only a controversy for journalists," he said. "It's of no consequence to readers." Yet he clearly cares about reporters' opinions when they're positive, and took pride in pointing out how many of his "journalistic colleagues" were impressed by the Rocky's DNC Twittering.

Temple doesn't know for certain how many non-journalists have even discovered Rocky Twitters. Because the posts appear in an embedded window on certain pages, visitors who cursor through the updates don't register in the same way that article hits do. Still, he said he's gotten positive feedback from the general public regarding Twittering that was done during the August trial of Jon Phillips, who was found guilty of killing seven-year-old Chandler Grafner by starving the boy to death — and those readers who followed the horrific proceedings by returning frequently to the Rocky's site demonstrate why newspaper execs are so excited by Twitter. Anything that induces people to stop by more often and linger longer is a very good thing in a medium that values clicks above all else.

Temple continues to believe that Twittering can be done in ways that don't diminish journalistic quality. Some readers of his Twitter-centric column thought he threw Morson under the bus, but he insisted otherwise, putting the blame on ineffective training. "I gave the reporter the column to review before it went into the newspaper," he revealed, "and it very clearly stated that the responsibility lay with us in not preparing a reporter to do something new."

No large-scale instructional sessions are planned at present, Temple said, because he feels tips are best passed along in one-on-one settings or in small groups. "It's a bit like the discipline of poetry when you're writing it to line length," he added. "I can tell you now that I could go to a funeral and Twitter it and you'd appreciate it, because I would do it in a sensitive way."

That's a claim I'd be interested in seeing Temple prove. Because if I like it, maybe he'll stop accusing my kind of annihilating journalism as we know it.

"Your thinking is indicative of the stultified, deadly minds that are destroying American news organizations."

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