Real-Time News in Changing Times
Real Time News within the media is a method where events are portrayed at the same rate that the audience experiences them.
These past months seem unreal to me. I live in Tucson, Arizona where my peer, acquaintance and District Congressman Gabrielle Giffords was shot, along with 19 others at a peaceful gathering, “Congress on your Corner”, held specifically to give constituents access to her. She tweeted the following:
Within an hour I was reading tweets and posts from National News outlets saying that she had died. I was in shock as were many others, including her husband Mark Kelly, who was on a plane getting this news while traveling back to Tucson. Obviously, looking back we know this wasn’t true.
Throughout the day we were hearing rumors, speculations and many unverified reports from different National news outlets, some people even went as far as to blame Sarah Palin. It was all very disturbing, not just for our community but also for the victims families, and the entire World.
<This is my opinion and my heart relating to the story.>
I took this attack on our neighbors in a very personal way, with just a few degrees of separation from many involved in the shooting. We lost friends, neighbors and family members that day. I am still in disbelief, I also used to work for Congressman Jim Kolbe in that very same office occupied by Gabby with some of her same employees. Like her staff that day, I traveled to events around the district, giving Arizonans a chance to meet and greet their Congressional Representative on a regular basis. It will never make any sense to me.
Usually I am generating content from an opinion or entertaining point of view, in an after-it-happened perspective, not necessarily time sensitive material. However, I am also a “Real-Time” reporter for some and a former newswire writer. This has taught me to always check my sources.
It is completely amazing how we are able to deliver and consume news as it is happening! In fact, Web 2.0 is probably the most exciting innovation to ever happen to journalism. This week I am very honored to be presenting these points at Jeff Pulver‘s #140Conf in New York. Joined by panel members including KOLD digital on-air correspondent Brian White, also from Tucson, who covered this story for the global community as it was happening, Huffington Post Blogger and Author Sean Gardner aka 2morrowKnight and Pop17′s Sarah Austin, the original life caster from Justin.TV and more.
You can look at recent events and examples, from the reports of Tupac still being alive to Congressman Weiner as Real-Time News choices and Real-Time debacles. When a story comes across your stream, you are faced with a decisions…believe, question, retweet or repost. How do you vet that choice and determine when to hit send? As a Social Media participant you ARE a citizen Journalist in some capacity. Deciding to be first or to be right, can be a dilemma for anyone, including this journalist.
Don’t get me wrong there is difference between participating in real-time chat action and being a journalist who works for or with traditional news outlets, I completely get the difference.
As a Journalist I take this responsibility to deliver the news very seriously and never at the cost of the truth. The pressure for “Real-Time” delivery is no excuse for compromising the very principles that attracted us to covering the news in the first place….
The next time you are tweeting, posting, reporting, broadcasting, remember the following points:
-Journalism and personal integrity need to come first, technology second, check your sources!
-Everyone is looking for their 15 minutes of fame so beware of the first person to offer opinions or to raise a hand with answers.
-There are a lot of so-called experts online, verify your info!
-If someone or an institution tweets or posts something it is just that: a tweet or post!
-Twitter is Public and Global, if you have an open account anything posted is live for the world to see, be careful what that is.
-You CAN be transparent and still be responsible.
-If it is speculation, probable, best guess, source it and let your followers know!
-Check your facts! Pick up the phone call the PIO (Public Information Officer.) Don’t use examples above as facts!
Looking forward to seeing of you at the #140conf in New York. If you have any examples, questions, suggestions please leave them here, I would be very grateful.