All Twittered Out

In the rush to use 'new media,' don't lose journalistic principles
Author:
Publish date:

Our friend and colleague Al Peterson dropped me a note.

“You might remember a recent news item where a plane’s GPS dumped out and it began infringing on D.C. airspace,” Al says. “They emptied part of the Capitol building and a couple of other offices here while they sorted everything out.”

Some broadcasters began giving a blow-by-blow of what was going on, depending heavily on Twitter to get the “first-hand account.” For instance: “Twitter is saying the plane is a Cessna,” “Twitter is saying the State Department has been told to evacuate,” etc. Much of it, Al says, was wrong.

“As ubiquitous as it is, I think depending on a social network like Twitter as a news source for any little bit of non-information that rolls off it is dangerous and goes against proper practice.”

First, he continues, “Twitter” by and of itself is not a news organization, so attribution to it is incorrect.

“Second, anyone can say anything on it and some dummy with a mic somewhere will report on the very first thing they read, in his quest to be ‘first with the story.’ Misinformation leads to bad decisions, and other organizations may consider a Tweet as a third-party corroboration, confirming legitimacy of a bad story.”

This is not the first instance, Al says. “Remember in the pre-Tweet days when they stopped all business at the Capitol to incorrectly report on the death of Bob Hope based on a Web item? I still get spam every week saying Tom Hanks was killed on a movie set from some prop that went wrong.”

Al says the industry is using the new technology for all it’s worth, but often against good broadcast practice. “The Age of New Media”? Sure, but the rules are still in place TFN.

Comment below. You can contact Al directly at rollingvalleyradio@yahoo.com.

Related

Should That Be 'Twitter Free Europe'?

It's all about "smart power, smart radio" these days at Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.President CEO Jeffrey Gedmin told lawmakers on Capitol Hill today that the organization represents "smart power at its best." He also said the organization is making

A Hotel Show Works Out the Kinks

We wondered how the Radio Show would do when it scaled down to a hotel venue. I give the change a cautious thumbs up. The organizers at NAB and RAB must tend to certain concerns on the exhibitor side before

Moss on: It's All Good Fun. April Fool!

April 1, and the traditional April Fool’s jokes once again made their farcical appearance throughout the nation the radio audio industry was not spared. Moog struck early with its latest creation from the mind of the late Bob, the MF

Peeking Ahead Into 2009 With Top Engineers

The Web gives us useful new tools for sharing information. A great example was our Web seminar today, a roundtable discussion about radio technical developments with David Layer of NAB, Milford Smith of Greater Media and the NRSC, and Mike

Another Internet Media Audition

How will the media consumers of tomorrow get their media? Anyone who has been paying attention knows that a titanic shift in media consumption is underway, in hardware, in format, in presentation and in content. In many ways, tomorrow has

EMI, DOA?

Brett Moss is gear & technology editor. I’m occasionally asked why I don’t have or use a cell phone. The real excuse(s) I hate talking on the phone. And I’m cheap.But that excuse won’t always look rational to a