In 2008, in the Twitter blog it was stated that Twitter was a news-wire, numbers being there to prove it.
Andy Carvin, NPR social media guru, since the 2011 Arab Spring has been transforming into a living news-wire, curating tweets and tweeting the Middle East events are they were unfolding. (Here’s more information on the process that Carvin is going through every day.)
The relationship between Twitter and journalism is certainly an important one to address if one is interested in the picture of the world that the news media portrays.
Here are a few broad questions that I think should be addressed from an academic perspective, but not with a focus on single breaking news events:
- is Twitter just another news-wire or something else’s for journalists?
- what are the noticeable differences of Twitter uses across the news industry?
- apart from Andy Carvin’s example, are they examples of extensive curation in the industry? how to they distinguish themselves from “traditional journalism”?
I would be more than interested to read, or perhaps take part, of cross-country studies on the impact of Twitter on journalisms.
The question should address more than specific breaking news events and we should look at what journalists actually do.
As part of a chapter for a new book Face the Future: Tools for a Modern Media Age, Daniel Bennett wrote on his Frontline Club blog “a Twitter revolution in breaking news”. Here’s a few of the points he makes:
- “A Twitter revolution in the practices of journalists covering breaking news has significant implications for journalism. It places pressure on the traditional news agency wires which are now regularly slower with the news than Twitter’s easily-updated network.”
- “It thus increases the speed of the news cycle, enabling journalists to access sources very quickly in a breaking news crisis and it is part of a broader trend whereby journalists are operating in a “live” online news medium.”
Here are some of my thoughts:
- These are very good points and shifts the debate between ‘Twitter’ and ‘revolution’ from most of the things that I read recently. It recognized, rightfully, the rise of Twitter in journalism and the way in which it has been used as well as its potential impact on journalism.
- But I keep wondering: Is it Twitter or is it journalism as a field that encourages the use of new tools such as Twitter? Breaking news have always been at the center of news production and journalism. In the beginning of 2000s, people were talking about 24/7 news channels revolutionizing the breaking news process.
- I would interested to hear about the overall historical development of the profession and how Twitter fits into that development and how journalists and institutions interact with its advent. As a result, I am wondering: is Twitter ‘just another tool’ in the evolution of journalism practice and breaking news?