Corey Hennigan April 5, 2009 blog post # 8 –

The use of Twitter by the media is a smart move. Twitter helps the media organizations get the news out to the readers as soon as it’s happening. This is true of the breaking news events, like the shooting in Binghamton on Friday. A media company like CNN, posted updates throughout the day with links to the Web site as more information became available, CNN still could have done much better, there were three tweets relating to the shooting. It is surprising that the New York Times wasn’t more on top of the situation, there were three tweets all within six minutes that said the same thing, another update about 90 minutes later but nothing more for the rest of the day. It looks like while the news media is getting the hang of it, they need to take advantage of Twitter during breaking news events. In general though, news organizations will be able to keep up with the public’s demand for immediacy and keep them informed of the news of the day and providing links to the organization’s site where the story can be found. It also helps that readers can follow Twitter and the news sites from their PDAs and cell phones. So far it appears to be working. There are 54,669 people following CNN on Twitter and 514,555 following the NY Times.

Much to the chagrin of the news media, I think Twitter will continue to give rise to the citizen journalist in the same way that text messages and grainy cell phone pictures sent to media outlets during times of crises have. Unless the Twitter fad dies before the next college/high school shooting, hostage situation or national emergency, people caught in these situations will be able to not only e-mail the pictures from their cell phones cameras they will also be able to tweet about whatever the situation is. The news media and viewers/readers will then be able to get direct up to the minute updates from the event. This happened to some extent in Binghamton on Friday, although it was more the network and newspaper reporters sending out the tweets. But I think if the buzz continues to grow around Twitter, it could be very helpful to the journalism industry.


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