Social media and journalism are back in the ring this week. They’re both pretty strong contenders, but not without their weaknesses. In the immortal words of Paulie Pennino, let’s blow these punch-outs.
In this corner: Journalism
As the underdogs trying to maintain a presence and a living wage, we all know journalists have the power of story-telling and, hopefully, credibility, when news breaks. This Nieman Lab post illustrates the timeline of breaking the Boston bombing on Monday. It shows social media users were able to catch events up to the minute, but it’s only when Reuters retweets it that it becomes News.
That’s all because of context. Journalism takes its hardest blows when it forgets that its mission is to provide context. To keep up with social media, journos have fallen prey to the allure of being first. Cable news outlets broadcast, and then tweeted, information about the ongoing investigation and hunt for the bomber without verifying information. Instead of relying on their credibility, their only other strength, media outlets engaged in a strange feedback loop citing each other, updating homepages and official tweets in a dizzy little dance.
— Christoher Hayes (@chrislhayes)<ahref=”https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/324648568008876036″>April 17, 2013
No shortage of adrenaline, but certainly a shortage of facts.
And in this corner: Social Media
In the midst of breaking, or not-quite breaking, news, social media was aflutter with corrections.
Social media is now the watchdog of the fourth estate. If it weren’t for social media, no one would have realized until it was too late how silly some of the reports coming in from mainstream media outlets were.