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Social Media: the battle to be first

3 Feb

We’re just back from talking to a number of young people about the changes in the way news is delivered and reported by mainstream media.

Tweeting in court, uploading videos to Facebook and YouTube from the scene and adding opinion have all become part of a journalist’s daily ritual as the pressure to break a story first ramps up. The big issue, however, facing press with the increase of activity on social media is not their own gathered stories, but that news is now often broken first by eye-witnesses, long before it can be confirmed by what many would see as traditional media.

Some media outlets opt to say we’re getting “unconfirmed reports” and go on to retweet or talk about the “rumours”, but should we as journalists even comment on news generated by social media?

The common rule of thumb is always to have at least two reputable sources,  and even better from the horse’s mouth. So when Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire tweets on his verified account to confirm a stress fracture, you can take it as read that the Gunner’s telling the truth.

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