a curious Yankee in Europe's court

blog about living in Europe, and Italy

Mighty Twitter shines again: Discovery hostage crisis*

Posted on the September 8th, 2010

Perhaps something not fessed-up to enough by some guardians of traditional journalism (aka old media), is that its classic reporting model has an unavoidable built in awkwardness. Steps: 1) the event happens; 2) the tip or report arrives to the editor or staff writer; 3) physical bodies are (cumbersomely) dispatched to interview, photograph or shoot, and write the thing up; 4 ) publication or broadcast… finally.

So however worthy and enduring this old model of spreading the news, it seems evident that the undesirable elements of delay and artificiality are inextricably interwoven into the process.

Viewed from this perspective then, Twitter and its amazingly democratic and efficient model of access and instant publication can only be seen as a useful step forward in execution of the news reporting task.

But the errors, the errors! you hear the purists cry. Yes (perfection eludes us yet again), but this is more than offset, in my opinion, by the spontaneous authenticity, the speed, and the virtually unlimited scope of delivery of the Twitter product.

The ideal solution, as some newspapers are (a bit sluggishly) embracing, is for traditional media to utilize Twitter as a indispensable new tool that has the potential to greatly enhance journalism.

For the most recent example of Twitter winning the news race, read Katy Gathright’s paean to Twitter in a  blog post on Social Times (“Twitter Trumps Traditional Media in Discovery Hostage Crisis” Sept 2, 2010).

* Discovery Hostage Crisis

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