Hong Qu ’99 analyzes the role of social media in breaking news stories, specifically the recent Boston Marathon bombing. Qu argues that “journalists have three capabilities that are vital to the news ecosystem: broadcasting, credibility, and storytelling.”
Qu is a visiting fellow at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard. Qu, who studied social media design at UC Berkeley after graduating from Wesleyan, teaches at CUNY School of Journalism and has worked at Upworthy, Google, Youtube and Yahoo.
In a breaking news situation, journalists get an adrenaline rush. There is a palpable eagerness to get the scoop, to be the first to bring the story to the public. In today’s world of social media, mobile phones, and the real-time 24/7 news cycle, though, journalists face competition from all sides: eyewitness accounts, official sources, and even friends and family are sharing news before mainstream news institutions have ‘published’ the official news story.
To illustrate this predicament, I compiled 26 tweets that ‘broke’ the Boston Marathon bombing news…
Upon examining this timeline, we might ask: How does social media transform the role professional reporters play in these kinds of news events?
Image: from article
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