To be sure, this list might be controversial, and, not surprisingly, it skews young. But these are all top-notch journalists who do real journalism, yet also understand the importance of using new media to interact with a community of followers.
Many top journalists didn't make this list because they don't Tweet much, or they don't interact with their followers. Remember, this isn't a "best reporters" list (OK, some of these folks are the best reporters); these are the best reporters to follow on Twitter.
1. @MarcAmbinder -- One of the best Twitter moments of 2010 was watching The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder break news 140 characters at a time by live tweeting his reading of an advance copy of "Game Change." How many old-school reporters would do that?
2. @TheFix -- Don't let the nerdy "Weezer" glasses fool you; Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post is a macho force on Twitter. Cillizza Tweets so much he's even set up another Twitter account for hard-core fans called "The Hyper Fix".
3. @ChuckTodd -- NBC's White House Correspondent Chuck Todd is just as friendly on Twitter as he is on TV. What's more, he practices good "Twitterettiquette" by Re-Tweeting others -- and by responding to questions (this is greatly appreciated by "The Littles").
4. @PoliticsNation -- Reid Wilson of Hotline's "On-Call" blog is one of the smartest political observers out there. You can always learn something from following Wilson, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of political campaigns. Want to know who's running in that special election in a state you've never been to? Check out Reid's feed (plus, you'll get the occasional movie review, too).
5. @thenote -- Rick Klein of ABCNews.com describes himself as "platform agnostic." He writes, he's good on TV, and he Tweets. Aside from being an excellent source of information, Klein also appreciates the importance of being part of a Twitter community. He regularly interacts with fans and readers, and helps promote other people's Tweets.
6. @ShiraToeplitz -- One of my favorite reporters in Washington, Toeplitz recently left Roll Call for Politico. She mines inside information on political campaigns and consultants. (And watch out for the occasional Pittsburgh Steelers Tweet.)
7. @MelindaDC -- Politics Daily's Editor-in-Chief Melinda Henneberger is no slouch when it comes to Twitter. But her 530 followers are hardly a worthy number for such a terrific source of information.
8. @BenPolitico -- I'm not sure when Politico blogger Ben Smith sleeps, but this guy's on top of everything. Another note: If he Re-Tweets you, it will get attention (and be Re-Tweeted again and again).
9. @JakeTapper -- ABC's Tapper deserves kudos for engaging his followers on Twitter, but he clearly lets them get under his thin skin from time to time. Count me among those who have been rebuked by him on Twitter, yet can't stop following him.
10.@MarkKnoller -- Because he goes wherever President Barack Obama goes, following Knoller is a good way to keep tabs on the president. He also knows more presidential history than anyone else out there. While Knoller provides plenty of interesting Tweets, he's not nearly as good as Chuck Todd or Jake Tapper when it comes to being part of the Twitter community.
11. @DaveWeigel -- Providing you're OK with the occasional F-bomb (or three) showing up in your Tweets, Weigel, who covers the conservative movement for The Washington Post, is one of the most interesting Tweeters out there.
12. @DaveCatanese -- I knew Dave Catanese when he was a TV reporter in Bismarck, N.D. Now look at him! Since joining Politico, Catanese has become a must-follow, especially if you're interested in the Arkansas Senate race. Having worked as a reporter in states like North Dakota and Missouri, Catanese possesses knowledge of local politics that eludes many national journalists.
13. @KasieHunt -- Kasie, a Politico reporter, is a blast to follow. She's very active on Twitter, and very conversational. She also seems to be quite the Washington National's fan.
14. @HotlineEditor -- Hotline Editor-in-Chief Amy Walter may be fairly new to Twitter, but she has quickly established herself as a "must-follow" for anyone who wants up-to-the-minute knowledge of what's happening in politics. With just over 500 followers, this is an underappreciated resource.
15. @JillDLawrence -- Politics Daily columnist and former national political correspondent for USA Today, Lawrence is quickly becoming a must-follow, just as she has become a must-read.
16. @jmartpolitico -- Jonathan Martin previously blogged on the conservative movement and the GOP for Politico. Now he covers the White House, and he's still top-notch.
17. @hambypCNN -- CNN reporter Peter Hamby is the reporter to follow if you want to know what's happening in South Carolina (I heard about the Will Folks/Nikki Haley story from his Tweet). With South Carolina's runoff election coming up on Tuesday, Peter is a must-follow.
18. @FixAaron -- Aaron Blake recently moved to The Washington Post from The Hill. In my estimation, he's clearly one of the top up-and-coming young journalists to keep an eye on. He Tweets like a madman, too.
19. @KuhnCNN -- CNN's audience interaction wunderkind, Eric Kuhn, once left a dinner with a lovely young lady so he could write about Sarah Palin's first-ever Tweet. That's dedication. He may have his priorities all mixed up, but if you're interested in the intersection of politics and technology (and if you're reading this, I'm guessing you are), he is an essential follow.
20. @RalstonFlash -- With the Nevada Senate race positioned as a marquee matchup this November, who better to follow than Sin City's own political guru, Jon Ralston?
Stay tuned for my list of the 25 essential conservatives and liberals to follow, too.
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