Beginnings of a shift — a response to We The Media

January 18, 2010

“To understand the evolution of tomorrow’s news, we need to understand the technologies that are making it possible.”
-Dan Gillmor

It’s exciting when you can turn on your computer and have the ability to look at the news sources you trust, or to writers you admire, when in search for the latest news.

My daily stalks are Gothamist, for the latest NYC news, event info and reviews presented a humorous voice; Daily Intel, which presents national top stories with links, pictures, and hilarious cutlines; and Refinery 29 for the latest in fashion, trends and pop culture.

These are one-stop shops where I can take in the news for the day, everyday without sacrificing hours upon hours reading the NY Times, USA Today and The Buffalo News, scouring pages to find what is important to me. I find that Gothamist, Daily Intel and Refinery 29 do exactly that—they gather stories, publish summaries, and attach links to one place—so if necessary I can follow the original links they provide to key news sources such as the aforementioned NY Times, WSJ, CNN, MSNBC, or wherever else the story stems.

I loved Dan Gillmor’s mention of muckrakers and those who practiced yellow journalism—Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair and Epton Sinclair. As a journalist, I only hope to break news like these writers shone light on issues that were not prevalent in the media but exposed conditions that were common otherwise.

“Edward R. Murrow’s reports on CBS, most notably his coverage of the wretched lives of farm workers and the evil politics of Joe McCarthy, were proud moments in journalism. The news hegemony of the networks and big newspapers reached a peak in the 1960s and 1970s. Journalists helped bring down a law-breaking president. An anchorman, Walter Cronkite, was considered the most trusted person in America.”

It’s astonishing how you don’t need to go to Journalism School for years, be an attractive anchor with your own show, or even have the best writing/speaking skills to present the news. It is all about the presentation of information and how quickly you can relate what you know. People with Twitters can share their thoughts in real time as events occur, such as with Sunday night’s Golden Globes. There was live commentary throughout the night from bloggers and friends that I tuned in to. The magnitude of power that has been given to ordinary people is extraordinary.

As Dan Gillmor states in We The Media, “The printing press and broadcasting are a one-to-many medium. The telephone is one-to-one. The editorial function has been adopted not just by bloggers, but by a host of new kinds of online news operations.” My favorite sources of news include, now, my friends on Twitter and my favorite bloggers. News is now filtered and presented to me in voices I appreciate.

How news presented via social mediums is different from conventional news sources [radio, tv, print, etc]:

1. subjectivity… on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, you CAN have an opinion. I find that many famous bloggers like Style Rookie 13-year-old Tavi found here, or arising fashion commentator from The Philippines found found here have attitude and a unique outlook on trends and culture.

2. speed… breaking news has never been reported as quickly

Haiti Earthquake occurred on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:53:10 PM at epicenter.

I learned about the Earthquake via Twitter through CNN…
RT @CNNiReport: Magnitude 7.0 earthquake reported near Haiti. Share information and images with CNN.
5:53 PM Jan 12th from txt

We can relate this to Gillmor’s recall of Sept. 11–where he was notified abroad about the attacks via text rather quickly. I remember not finding out until later that night, being in middle school the entire day, watching students being pulled out of class because their parents came to get them. I remember my spanish teacher bursting into tears, but not knowing why.

3. anyone can do it—let’s be newsmakers, instead of consumers of the news. What is important to us is what we should share with everyone else.

I remember over the winter break, my editor at Racked NY, was one of the first bloggers to Tweet H&M throwing away merchandise that was unable to sell. the original NY Times article that broke the news to people can be found here. NY Times for some strange reason, or at least to my knowledge, didn’t bring the news to Twitter. Thanks to blogs including Racked NY, this topic was the No. 2 Trending Topic on News spread fast and received lots of reaction, which led to a quick response from H&M a couple hours later on Facebook.

4. New news has a shorter expiration period. Just think people are not lately to click on the big NEXT button and look at yesterday’s news. People like to stay up-to-date on what is going on NOW. The quicker new news gets to people, the quicker they forget about what they were thinking about a minute ago.

What else? Thoughts? What are your favorite mediums of news?

What do you think about social mediums adding to or replacing old sources of news?

I just think if news organizations don’t follow the new trends, they will slowly fall through the cracks. If you lag, you’ll get left behind.


One Response to “Beginnings of a shift — a response to We The Media”

  1. lucythorpe said

    Many organisations are changing to reflect the new realities of news in the age of social media. The BBC in London is placing more and more emphasis on the web site as the heart of their operation. But I detect a suspicion of social media. I think there is a fear that Twitter etc is just a passing fad.
    For myself, I reckon I could write my own newspaper based on what I find out from Twitter. Most of us don’t have the time to be our own news curators though and still need sites we can trust.
    I liked you blog. My last blog talked about the fading influence of newspapers. I do still think we like to be identified with a newspaper’s brand though.

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