Media World: The many 'friends' of Andrew Ross Sorkin


Andrew Ross Sorkin may be a provocative New York Times (NYT) writer and an ebullient television personality, but he also has a group of Facebook friends that would be the envy of many.

Among those who profess their cyber-friendship with the editor of DealBook are IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) head Barry Diller, media investment banker Herb Allen of Allen & Co., (CRM) CEO Mark Benoiff, Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf, Jim Cramer, who of course needs no introduction, Nick Denton of Gawker Media, Storm Duncan, the co-head of technology M&A at Credit Suisse (CS) Morgan Stanley (MS) banker Stuart J. Epstein, Washington Post Co. (WPO) Chief Executive Donald Graham, Former FCC head Reed Hundt, YouTube Co-founder Chad Hurley, Ron Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Biden, and book agent Judith Regan.

My apologies to any of Andrew's prominent friends who I left out. There are plenty of non-famous people who profess to be buddies with the journalist, including yours truly. I "friended" the DealBook editor just to see if I could make the cut. We are not friends in the real world. I may have met Ross Sorkin at a conference once. Certainly, we do have mutual acquaintances but I doubt he knows my name which does not offend me in the least. Ross Sorkin has more than 1,000 "friends", including me.

In an e-mail to Daily Finance, Ross Sorkin said most of his best sources are not on Facebook and that he accepts most friend requests as a courtesy to his readers.

"Though, in fairness, I'm not really an active Facebook user; I rarely update my account, "he said. "For better or worse, I've never used Facebook to find sources or communicate with them. I imagine if you looked through my friend list that you might find some business/political types on it, but I wouldn't make too much of that. Most of them have probably been quoted in articles I've written or we met at a conference or some such."

Ross Sorkin's example underscores why increasing numbers of news organizations including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News are enacting rules regarding how journalists use sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It also shows the lengths people will go to curry favor with a prominent journalist.