If we learned anything about journalism following the Boston Bombing coverage, it’s that it is no longer a spectator sport. Through the use of Twitter, Reddit and other social media sites, everyone these days is eager to be the first with breaking news. While CNN and Fox News were struggling to stay ahead of the manhunt coverage in Boston, most people turned to Twitter to get minute-by-minute updates from citizens on the ground.
Some people may have seen this as a positive. After all, since a private citizen doesn’t have to go through a rigorous fact-checking process, information can be transferred more freely and updates are more immediate. Especially in a crisis, the free movement of information can be useful, even groundbreaking. Just look at the Arab Spring or Trayvon Martin case – neither of these would have reached the large audience they did without social media. In fact, if left to traditional journalism outlets, we may never have heard of them at all. Read the rest of this entry »