Jeff Jarvis writes about how the witnesses are writing the news:
“The witnesses are taking over the news. That will fundamentally change
our experience of news, the role of witnesses and participants, the
role of journalists and news organisations, and the impact reporting
has on events. Mumbai – like the Sichuan earthquake – brought reports
from witnesses via Twitter and blogs. Both then appeared on traditional
media as online witnesses were quoted and interviewed. The novelist
Amit Varma wrote of surviving the attack in a nearby hotel and because
of that spoke on CNN. Photos from the scene filled Flickr and showed up
on newspaper sites and TV screens.”
The key issue here is a simple one: trust. If I’m following a new event via Twitter, how do I know whether someone is a witness, reporting what someone else has said, or simply retwitting what they’re seeing on local news? How do I know that the pictures they post on Flickr were taken by them? Or that they are of the actual event?
Alan Patrick sums this up nicely in his post – 90% of Tweets about Mumbai were crap. But, of course, this is probably true of any attempt to create “rolling news”, as 10 minutes of watching the coverage of any large-scale event by 24/7 news channels reveals.