Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

“Social news”: Why it is important, why it should be fact-checked

11 Apr

If there is one thing social media is responsible for, it is making personalization so much easier.

Many news organizations have their reporters and other staff members create blogs in order to connect with readers and have an outlet to express their opinions on different issues. After all, if reporters can reach out to the public in this way, readers are more likely to be able to relate to them. As Mathew Ingram of Gigaom said, “You should be the best possible version of yourself.” Everyday people express their opinions all the times in all kinds of personal blogs. Why shouldn’t reporters be able to?

As seen through blogs, news is not just in one central location anymore. Quora, Twitter and Facebook are great examples of new, journalistic outlets these reporters are using. Through these, journalists are allowing a much wider audience to view their work and talk about it. This goes beyond just reporting news. These sites have become so effective that there will now be a Pulitzer Prize category for real-time reporting. In addition, ongoing events like Occupy Wall Street have allowed the people to become journalists,  with many passersby shooting videos and blogging. Journalists like Elliot Volkman of Play This Magazine are now being praised for their extensive use of social media to find sources and information for stories.

As I have said before, story ideas and ideas in general can always be spread through social media. The fact that many Egyptians used Facebook and Twitter to send their message of revolution to thousands (if not more) last year shows just how effective social media can be. In this case, journalists and average citizens were able to collaborate by both finding out about and talking about the revolution.

However, as per everthing journalism, online news must be fact-checked, double-checked, cross-checked.  It is always safer to be a little skeptical of any story, especially one read online, than to not question it at all. Like any social network, Facebook is known to have its “fake” users, and if any of these become “sources,” it could potentially cause problems. However, since many young people have practically grown up with social media, they may be able to find ways around this in the future, since they know the online-media spectrum much better than many adults do. The introduction of websites like MediaBug is helping bring reporters and readers even closer by discussing errors they’ve made, along with corrections. This almost makes admitting a mistake not so shameful.

News created via social media outlets has become so powerful that I think it deserves a new name: “social news.” Because that’s what it is, isn’t it?


Trend and Correlate

Trend: http://www.google.com/trends/?q=gay+marriage&ctab=0&geo=all&date=all&sort=0

Correlate: http://www.google.com/trends/correlate/search?e=gay+marriage&t=weekly&p=us

Since gay marriage has been a pretty consistent topic over the past eight years or so, according to these graphs, it might be interesting to take different angles on this topic. This could also help with finding out how much progress has been made in other states to legalize gay marriage.