How do you get your news? For me it’s the web. Whether it be seeing it first on Twitter or getting an alert from CNN Breaking News. While I do get a newspaper delivered to my home every morning, I hardly read it. I catch up on the daily happenings in the world via the Internet. The way we receive news is changing, but is it better?
I first learned of last week’s celebrity deaths not by watching the news, but by following posts on Twitter. Twitter came into the spotlight as a news tool immediately after the US Airways flight crashlanded into the Hudson River in New York City. Reports of the accident were immediately posted on Twitter along with photos, the first of which was taken by a customer of mine which I later went on to feature in an article in eBiz Insider magazine.
The deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Billy Mays played out in the social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace first as a rumor, but then as more reports surfaced, confirmations were made.
The speed at which news is delivered to us now is staggering, no more do we have to wait for the six and 11 to see what happened while we work, now we’ve got applications that stream breaking news across our computer screens or send us a text message.
Normal everyday people are turning into civilian reporters capturing news on their cell phone cameras and pocket video recorders. Hot stories make it to the social networking sites before the major networks have any mention of it on theirs, and rumors are more often difficult to filter out.
After last week’s celebrity passings, rumors have been flying about other celebrities who apparently “passed on” but are still breathing. Some of them are grateful for the publicity while others aren’t taking to the rumors to well.
News directors across the country are now working harder than ever to verify stories to separate the fact from fiction and to make sure the obit doesn’t go on their station’s website prematurely. I remember in 1998, CSPAN was broadcasting the house of representatives session when someone announced Bob Hope had died, when in fact he didn’t. Bob got killed off by the media a second time in 2003 when CNN published a draft version of his obit online.
The way we receive our news is different. Whether it’s for the better or for the worse is for you to decide.