Predictions

by Timothy Lee


Filed Under:
news, twitter

Companies:
twitter



Is Twitter The Future Of News?

from the not-quite dept

The Loose Wire blog has a fascinating example of "crowdsourced" journalism in action: When the UK experienced its largest earthquake in decades, the story was covered first not by the BBC or a traditional wire service, but by a twitter-only news service called BreakingNewsOn. And that service, run by a 20-year old Dutch student named Michael van Poppel, got its leads directly from Twitter users in the UK who were surprised by the quake and made Twitter posts about it. I think this highlights some important trends in the future of journalism. First, when news happens, there are almost always some people around to observe it first-hand. So if enough of those people have ways of sharing their observations with the world -- via Twitter, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, or some other mechanism not yet developed -- then news reporting may consist largely of tracking down these various first-hand reports and synthesizing them into a story. It may not be necessary to send out a flesh-and-blood reporter to cover a story if there's already a ton of information about it on the Web. Second, the line between professional and amateur journalism is blurring, and will continue to do so. Someone we would ordinarily consider just a blogger can break news if he happens to be at the scene of a story or he happens to be the first to notice newsworthy happenings being reported elsewhere on the Internet. Finally, this story suggests one answer to the frequent hand-wringing over the decline of newspapers. It's true that some newspapers are being forced to reduce the number of reporters on the payroll. But that lost news-gathering capacity is likely to be outweighed by the vastly increased news-gathering capabilities of the Internet. If mainstream news outlets can get better at tapping these kinds of decentralized news sources, they should be able to report more news with fewer reporters.

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  1. identicon
    Lisa Creech Bledsoe, 4 Mar 2008 @ 7:06am

    Twitter for breaking news

    I use Twitter for breaking news and other business purposes; my community there is mostly other social media professionals and new technology users. I get the regular links from NYT and other sources (I follow one NBC cameraman who Twitters his inside impressions before the story goes on the news), but because of the people who Twitter I knew about the the Appalachian lockdown before it was public, I see beta groups starting and new tech releases every day. Our company, Calvert Creative, trains businesses to use tools like Twitter to meet business goals. Twitter can also be a great community to test out your ideas with. Our local group holds face-to-face TweetUps, and we are becoming friends as well as colleagues.

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