Saturday, March 6, 2010

Do as we say, not as we do ...

For a long time, the Big Monkeys at the dinosaur media have been laughing at the possibility that their antique methods of news development and story editing might just be on the verge of "outmodedness."

"Without (print and broadcast) news departments, who will do the gathering, the editing, the presentation?"

Two words:  Haiti and Chile.

Turns out that almost all of the first few days of reportage from both earthquake sites were done via social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, Skype, plain old-fashioned email and, to a lesser extent, VideoSatPhone.  See, as long as you can connect to a weblink satellite feed, you can go online.

And with no dino-media reporters on the ground, at least initially, it was up to survivors and citizen journalists with uplinks to carry the ball. Once the dinos showed up, they used the same resources.

But you can bet that from the get-go the alpha nets, AP, Reuters, AFP and all the rest were frantically searching social media feeds to catch up.  And using that info, minus appropriate credit, of course, to enhance their for-profit coverage.

Their weakness was brought into the bright sunlight of silliness Thursday, when a law professor at Georgetown University used a made-up example of the resignation of Chief Justice Roberts in his class as an example of the importance of verification.  A student put the story online and it blossomed into an international story, literally, within an hour.

Note to DinoMedia Big Monkeys:  Now we know why you never look behind you.  Someone IS catching up!  You still have to fact check, of course, even though you seem to have done away with much of the fabled "multiple layers" of editing.

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