#twitternews #isitnews? #atleastitsfast

Alright.  SO we’re leading up to our visit to the Detroit Free Press ! #journalism #soexciting

But let’s address the unfortunate elephant in the room:

While I’m not sure how newspapers will continue to deal with challenges from new news outlets, let’s take a look at Twitter, the big kahuna of the evolving news ecosystem.  We’ve got to understand the nature of the beast in order to deal with it.  When I typed in #globalwarming into Twitter’s search bar, links to TONS of articles came up, this one and this one as two samples.  One is unreliable.  Try the experiment yourself: #globalwarming.   What articles or tweets are trending now? Are they reliable?  Are they newsworthy?

Part of what I like about Twitter is that the information is constantly changing, constantly updating.  I like that the #globalwarming page I saw before I started writing this post is not the page you’ll see as you’re reading it or the page I’d see if I looked back right now.   Not only is Twitter’s audience much bigger than most newspapers’, its audience is also its reporters. So “news” can potentially update #superfast .

How do you think newspapers and their more trustworthy articles could compete with this speed and quantity?

How do articles like this one, from RealClimate with its audience participation in a mediated-comment form, differ from Twitter’s free-for-all?  I like how the comments, though some of them disagree with the findings, are rooted in the facts presented directly above and then are addressed by another informed commenter.   How could journalists harness that reliability on a grander, faster, twitter-like scale?


About Lindsey Scullen

I study Comparative Literature, Spanish, Complex Systems and Program in the Environment at the University of Michigan. I'm an intern for the Environment Report and Editor of the Environment Account.

3 Responses to “#twitternews #isitnews? #atleastitsfast”

  1. I would have to also agree that there is an elephant in the room between Detroit Free Press and twitter. They have diametrically opposed aims. With twitter, it seems like anything goes, as long as it happens quickly. On the other hand, the Free press relies on traditionally used print media and websites laid out in the style of a traditional paper newspaper. I think that in the future, it will be interesting to see if the Free Press can hold on given what I would expect to be an aging readership. I read traditional paper newspapers in high school, yet would not have been caught anywhere admitting that to other people. With none of my friends at that time reading it, I felt that it wasn’t the thing to do. Now, I am glad that I took the time to read those papers because I think that they made me a better writer. Although twitter is fast, it is not for me because of the slow journalism system. Fact checking Twitter can get very boring.

  2. There is an important element to twitter and debates about climate change: they are both relatively young. While twitter is much younger, climate change has only been thoroughly discussed since around 1988 with the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, after talking with my profile subject yesterday, I realized that our generation is the first generation to make environmentally-friendly lifestyles as ‘trendy’ is they are today. As University students in a liberal town, we are surrounded by the climate change science and ideas for policy solutions.However, not everyone can easily access the information present on campus. According to mediabistro.com, 107.7 million Americans have twitter accounts. While many Americans see articles such as article 2– think about how many influential articles about climate change and related behavioral change could reach Americans! According to the Washington Post, about 69% of Americans already believe in global warming — maybe twitter can act as a catalyst to reach the other 31%.

  3. I think there is an important distinction between news and twitter. With news, there is a hierarchy, or chain of command, that all journalists must respect and abide by. In this sense, I think one could make an argument for both sides; this chain of command is either an advantage or restrictive. Twitter on the other hand, is mostly comprised of people simply posting and reposting things with no sense of accountability. Most of the time, twitter users don’t feel the need to think about politics of what they post. Neither their jobs nor their credibility is on the line. In order to ever get news to the point where it can be comparable to twitter in terms of speed of information, this political barrier must be broken. Then again, is it important to have that sense of accountability in news?

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