Social Media Ruins Breaking News Angle
It cracks me up when people ignore the relevance social media has in our lives today. Some could say it affects our daily lives, but some people just do not use social media. However, it still has a relevance to those non-users.
For instance, let’s examine the recent shooting in Aurora, Colo. The immediacy of the news on the event was incredible. But it wasn’t from CNN or Fox, it was all in social media. You had people making posts, “Shooting just happened at the theater I was at.” You had people involved in that horrible situation making posts.
This, of course, launches the talking heads in to a frenzy to continue pumping out the smallest of details on the story to cover their own ground in relevancy.
I am not saying that the story wasn’t relevant, it definitely is. And the story raises interesting questions the state of America today. (i.e. gun control/regulation; state of psychiatric care).
But what you have nowadays is no longer the need for “Breaking News.”
Where did this even come about? This breaking news?
Well, in the 1920s when radio was the relevant form of entertainment, stations would interrupt programs for news that just happened, or broke. Now, not only were stations competing for the larger demographics with their entertainment programs, but now stations had to have the fastest news crew this side of whatever river you pick.
This evolves in to television, where minutes separated rival stations, but once that news broke on one station, everyone tuned in to that channel, and you lost.
This pretty much was the pattern until the Internet, but even then news site competed for immediacy on news.
Now, you have everyone trying to throw theirs news out their at “first” of breaking bunch. But the problem is that events are talked about and spread so quickly through social media and the Internet, news organizations are just finding themselves displaying false facts based off of first hand accounts of the breaking event they are covering.
For instance, CNN did a terrible job of this with the Supreme Court healtcare ruling. Instead of managing time of proper analysis of the news, they just threw up the first rumor they heard. That was: HEALTHCARE LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Then you could almost see it, see them reading the court’s majority opinion. “…wait…everyone…wait…it is constitutional…wait…is it? Yes, yes it is. Change the site!”
The sad thing is, that instead of accepting the fact that breaking news, on a large media scale, is a useless format. Of course that is in its traditional sense.
Am I saying that major news organizations shouldn’t cover breaking events? No, not at all. Of course they should.
What I am saying though is that the days of being first equates to being the best are long gone. So, instead of rushing to being first, they should rush to be right on what they report.
And in this day and age, where everyone reports everything going on, being right is significantly more important than being first.