Week12: Twitter Becoming a Leading Source for News

11 Apr

The impact that social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter are having on journalism is no longer a secret, and news organizations that aren’t embracing this new wave of modern journalism are being left behind.  Social media can no longer be ignored.  Its importance in the newsroom and out in the field is paramount.  Twitter, for example, allows journalists to report and update news instantaneously, and also enables journalists to share and collaborate on news stories.  This may not have been acceptable in the past, but with this new technology comes an understanding that the times are changing.

Twitter is slowly developing into a news site all its own.  News is broken on Twitter faster than anywhere else.  An example of this is given by Brenna Ehrlich, a writer for the website Mashable.  She explains how a radio DJ, Aaron Lazenby of Pirate Cat Radio, was scanning Twitter one night last year when he noticed #iranelection trending. Curious, he clicked on the hashtag, and started looking over the flood of tweets about the “stolen” election.  What he discovered was there were protests going on in Iran and that the news had not spread to any mainstream media outlets here in then U.S.  Lazenby was able to get an interview with one of his Twitter sources, and that interview was later picked up by  CNN’s iReport, a citizen journalism portal.

Another example of Twitter being at the forefront of breaking news sources is what transpired on the social network following the plane crash in the Hudson River.  News of the plane crash broke on Twitter instantly, and Lauren McCullough, social networks and news engagement manager for The Associated Press, immediately began searching for any information available.  She came across a picture posted by a man named Janis Krums, and began a process to get in touch with him and to find out where he was, where he had taken the photo and whether it was something that they could distribute.  The photo was published and stands as another reminder of how important a role social media can play in the gathering of news.

We as journalists must constantly stay updated on the latest trends in social media.  We will no longer thrive working alone, but instead need to embrace each nugget of information and collaborate to report the news.  The readers have now become part of the reporting process, and this isn’t a bad thing.  The more insight and information a journalist can gather, the better the story will be.

I wasn’t able to post my graph for my Google Correlate search, but I found it to be a very useful tool, along with the Google Trends search tool.  The Google Trends could be used by journalists to show readers what is popular or trending at that particular time.  Journalists could also gather story ideas from Google Trends, with a simple search to see what people are looking at the most.  Hot topics may lead to story ideas.  Google Correlate was a bit more complex.  This can be used by journalists for research or to correlate search terms state-by-state.
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