Citizen Journalism – Breaking News Faster

In class we’ve talked a lot about how slow the news can be. Ferguson did not break into major news networks until days after the occurrence, and arguably only because of the attention it got on social media. The murder of three students near UNC’s campus is a similar story.

Saturday I saw an article about a body of a female found near where I went to high school in an empty for sale house. I’m struggling to find the article I read now, but it caught my attention.

March 30th (Monday) WNCN reported the name of the victim, the body was found Saturday and the address, that she attended the same high school I did and her family wants who did it to come forward.

Yesterday March 31 many other local stations including WNCN, FOX 8, WRAL, N&O, ABC 11 picked up the story that her ex-boyfriend was arrested and charged with her murder. He also attended Jordan High School.

The facts I learned about the story that I didn’t already know from social media were comments from the girl’s mother. She said her daughter and her had an argument and spring break had just started so she wasn’t surprised when her daughter didn’t come home Friday night.

But for the most part, responses on social media, particularly Twitter, told me they both are juniors and he was in a gang, as well as their classmates reactions.

This also might be semi-skewed because I went to Jordan and still know people who go to Jordan, but as the recent past has shown, the fact that Twitter broke the story faster than news networks is nothing new.

Citizen journalism is the way of the future. News networks need to better link into social media to break a story. They are simply taking too long and not giving as much information as a social network can.

Apps are tapping into this with Meerkat and Twitter’s new purchase Periscope. While video probably isn’t the best medium to break this story, the apps are promoting citizen journalism.

News networks should have a social media feed attached to the story to give a citizen insight. This could help break the Facebook algorithm thats hiding news that Facebook doesn’t think you would be interested in. Overall, I think there needs to be a better bridge between social media and news network because citizen journalism is becoming more informative than traditional journalism.


One comment

  1. Larry · April 1, 2015

    I agree that citizen journalism can be faster and ahead of traditional news outlets (print, TV, on-line). However, is citizen journalism fair and balanced. What if a story circulated on social media that was accusatory based on initial reaction, misleading, or even false. Information is widely disseminated that may be wrong and worse, might cause severe harm. Think back to the Duke lacrosse case; I’m sure there are many others, Ferguson included. Yes, its great to get news quickly, almost instantaneously today, but do you want the first report from someone with a cell phone and camera. While it can be frustrating to some who want it now to have to wait a little longer, perhaps we still owe something to journalism that values balance and verification. What if you or a family member was the center of news story that spread on social media, how might you feel then?


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