Post-Dispatch Reporter, Ferguson PR CEO Get in Twitter Tussle Over Deadlines, Clothes

When Ferguson changed from a quiet St. Louis suburb to ground zero for a renewed battle over civil rights, the town quickly learned it needed a full-time public relations team to manage press inquiries and community outreach.

First, the city hired a bunch of white ladies. That didn't go so well. So the city shifted to Devin James, CEO of the eponymous, minority-owned firm the Devin James Group.

(UPDATE: Not anymore. Here's our story on that: Ferguson PR Rep. Devin James Fired (Sort Of) After Revelation He Shot, Killed Unarmed Man)

But James isn't just a public-relations CEO. He's also a clothes horse with an Instagram feed filled with pre-/-post-workout and workday selfies, each meticulously labeled with a host of hashtags. (Our favorites: #malemodel, #maturity, #communicationthatbenefitspeople.)

There's no separation between James' uber-hashtaged selfies/sub-tweets and his professional posts, and that caused a delightfully snarky skirmish between him and a St. Louis reporter on deadline.

It all started with this very characteristic tweet from James: Paul Hampel, a political reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the winner of the Riverfront Times Best Newspaper Reporter 2013 award, seemed to think James was focusing too much on #werk and not enough on work, namely connecting Ferguson officials with the media. Two nights before that tweet, Ferguson protesters clashed with police, broke a window and set fire to a restaurant. The next day, James helped Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson release his watershed apology video.

See also: Ferguson Police Chief Apologizes to Brown Family, Protesters: "I Feel Responsible"

So Hampel threw a little shade James' way -- a gutsy move seeing as how Hampel only started tweeting last month while on the scene in Ferguson. And when James tried to throw some shade back, things got interesting. James tries two tactics in response. First, there's the "I don't have time for this nonsense because I'm a CEO, son" approach: Then he opts into the "Who the f**k are you to tell me how to do my job" approach. James should probably have stuck with his "I'm the boss" defense, because Hampel isn't about to let James accuse him of procrastinating. Things heat up a bit when Jon Swain of the Guardian joins in. Again, Hampel was having none of it, and his colleagues at the Post-Dispatch started to notice. James doesn't seem to care, either about sniping with a reporter in public or about haters in general. The moral of the story?

#realtalk #businessandpleasure #maturity

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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