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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Twitter, Iran and journalism

There have been all sorts of reflections on Twitter and journalism recently. Here's a few that caught my eye...
"Errors are amplified in this media environment because most Twitter followers and bloggers aren’t so much validating and confirming their facts as they are reinforcing an opinion or statement they already agree with. But while the social media sphere is a business of corroboration for regular people, it should not remain so for journalists."
"Piece by piece, the story came together before our eyes, in public. The journalists added considerable value. But this wasn’t product journalism: polishing a story once a day from inside the black box. This was process journalism and that ensured it was also collaborative journalism – social journalism, if you like."
  • A couple of Twitter sceptics are forced to reconsider their position after seeing tweets from Iran - Ellen Goodman and Gideon Rachman. (Note how the authors use the same idea in opening paragraph in some sort of strange 'I-see-how-Twitter-can-be-useful-but-I-wouldn't-go-so-far-as-to-actually-update-my-own-account' show of solidarity).

2 comments:

Paul said...

To continue your observation of "it's journalism jim, but not as we know it"..last night's BBC Newsnight discussed the same issue and contrasted the newsgathering method of 'curation' by twitterers Vs 'verification' by pro journos. The debate agreed that the twitter observations in Iran were a mosaic and the first image / story tended to lead the day's story. It concluded that whichever style or source you prefer it is compelling material and captures the imagination and an audience!

Daniel Bennett said...

Funnily enough I was at Newsnight most of yesterday, observing the team putting the programme together...but anyway. Interesting point on 'compelling material' - the youtube videos in particular had an authenticity that trumped most mainstream media footage. And obviously the agencies and TV crews were severely limited by the regime. I think the supposed dichotomy between curation and verification was something of a red herring here. It's worth bringing out Arianna Huffington's point that Nico Pitney (the Huff Post's curating liveblogger) and his team were attempting to verify the information as best as they could. There are limits to how much information you can verify in a breaking news situation whether that information arrives from Twitter, the wires, governments or people on the street. I also felt Newsnight were trying to create a debate which I think no longer exists after Iran, even among the most hardened sceptics. Journalism is already a collaborative venture between 'amateurs' (perhaps Nik Gowing's 'Information doers' is better) and professionals. It will only become more so.

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