Archive for July, 2013

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Yet another summer full of disasters is underway.  From wildfires to impending hurricanes, there isn’t a single disaster that mother nature can’t throw our way during this hot, dry summer.  However, when it comes to finding updates on what is going in the moment, whether it be around the world or in my own community, I don’t do like I did 10 years ago and turn to my favorite news channel.  I don’t bother comparing the limited opinions (and yes, about 90% of the content is opinions) of networks like CNN, HLN, Fox News, or MSNBC.  Nor do I type in the URL to my local newspaper.  Instead, the place I go for finding out what is happening RIGHT NOW is the almighty Twitter.

A decade ago, the idea of completely crowdsourced journalism seemed like a radical idea that would prove to destroy the profession of journalism.  Just read Axel Bruns’ Gatewatching for a glimpse into the origins of these “crowdsources.” Now, however, the idea that Bruns envisioned of citizen and professional journalists working together to present the news seems to have become a reality via Twitter.  Take Breaking News for instance.  The news network is sourced primarily by a network of freelance journalists and ordinary people to bring the latest updates on big events as they happen.  In many cases, I’ve seen news updates through breaking news faster than I’ve ever seen them through any other major news source.  Or let’s say that I want to clear the clutter and look at only one event, like the West Fork Fire.  Just type in the hashtag #WestForkFire, and I get instant updates from multiple sources – something I would NEVER get by watching cable news.

Twitter seems to have become the internet’s interactive news ticker, delivering realtime updates from ordinary people.  The informative potential goes beyond newspapers, TV news, and event facebook.  What I find even more ironic is that all the while that this is happening, the few major news networks that are left are instead making a spectacle about the news.  Most “news” shows spend an entire 10 minute segment featuring a group of pretentious  commentators babbling about things that aren’t even news.  At the same time, people are tweeting updates to the world that can give first responders valuable intel to overcome a crisis.  Does anyone else find it ironic that the most trusted news source isn’t even a news network?