One question that arose: does a 140-character update equate to journalism?
If it comes from a news organisation/journalists does this make it more journalistic? What about eyewitness reports of news events, for example?
Speaking personally, recent coverage of news events – using Twitter as one element – such as Al Jazeera’s tweets from Gaza, UK newspapers’ tweeting of the budget and G20 protests have provided me with breaking news, relevant contextual links and real-time insight.
As Suw Charman-Anderson commented (appropriately on Twitter): ‘isn’t journalism just polished-up conversations?’ – the conversations encouraged by social media use.
You can also add the question: does it need to be defined?
Perhaps, to a certain extent for news orgs, it does – with regards to accuracy, verification, regulation.
But as a format using Twitter in combination with other multimedia tools and outlets can create a new grammar for presenting news – and a way to unpack ‘journalism’ from its box and show the context, links to and conversation around what would previously have been a standalone ‘news item’.
UPDATE (May 12) – The session with Keith McSpurren will kick off at 1pm tomorrow – if you’re attending it’s in Room AG03 ground floor, College Building, City university – that’s 280 St John St, London EC1 (map here)
Liveblogging – the format of choice for news sites to cover events it would seem given recent examples.
Nick Jones, former BBC political correspondent, joined panellists Iain Dale and Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) at the Foregin Press Association yesterday, where the impact of new media on newsgathering and reporting was discussed.
In addition there’s a nice ‘What to expect’ guide breaking down the issues that are likely to feature in the budget announcement.
Arguably the go-to site for budget coverage given its specialism, the FT is building on tried and trusted features from last year (a budget day podcast, video analysis, a budget calculator) with a new liveblog from 12pm covering Alistair Darling’s speech, editor Robert Shrimsley, who will participate, told Journalism.co.uk.
The format is based on the site’s MarketsLive feature successfully developed and used by its Alphaville blog. As such it will ‘bring people people up to speed, but inform them in an entertaining way’. Financial analysis but entertaining – two styles that rarely meet, said Shrimsley, but that will be key to FT.com’s liveblogging of the budget.
“There’s a premium on getting that information out and telling people what its means. We feel at the FT that we have the right people to pass on that analysis,” explained Shrimsley.
There will be a Twitter feed too, but it’s crucial not spam people with updates, he added. Readers are encouraged to participate in both this stream and the liveblog though.
Alphaville isn’t being used as a lab for experimenting with new ways of coverage, he stressed, but there is potential for more liveblogging across the site. It’s important not to overdose on technology, however, but to use only when applicable, he added.
“Can we offer our audience what is worth reading? There’s lots of innovation on the internet and there’s lots that you can do – that doesn’t mean you have to,” he said.
Channel 4 News website
More use of Twitter by the Channel 4 news team – as introduced by presenter Krishnan Guru-Murphy in the vid below:
Liveblogging at regional level
Deciphering what the budget means for the average news reader is being tackled head on by the Newcastle Evening Chronicle with a liveblog taking place across a number of Trinity Mirror centres.
“We’ll be mainly trying to digest it for *normal* people with rx [reactions] from experts, rather than the scary £180bn debt figures,” said Colin George, multimedia editor, in a Twitter update.
A piece on the treatment of journalists at G20 from photojournalist Marc Vallee, over at the Guardian’s Comment is Free:
“Who needs section 76 when you have a baton? Back in February I wrote how terror legislation had been increasingly used by this government, and brutally enforced by the police, to criminalise not only those who protest but also those who dare to give the oxygen of publicity to such dissent.”
A More4 News feature on how citizen journalism is changing the news scene, in light of recent events, namely the G20 protests and the Damian McBride affair.
Charlie Beckett, director of POLIS, is interviewed: The importance is connecting the citizen with the journalist, he says. “(…)These stories would never have the impact if they had just stayed on the blogosphere…”
On his blog: “A City of London police inspector orders the media to leave the area as police ‘kettle’ protesters outside the Bank of England [Thursday 2 April 2009 in London].
“The police officer ordered members of the media to leave the area for 30 minutes under the threat of arrest by citing Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. The protesters had congregated to mark the death of a man who had died on an anti-G20 protest the day before.”
Apparently the Guardian’s footage of Ian Tomlinson being knocked down by police officers (as was seen repeatedly on broadcast news bulletins last night) was rejected by BBC News at 6, who said it was seen as ‘just a London story’.
Was this the reason? Some viewers would argue this is valid and part of the BBC’s remit to better represent the whole of the UK. Or was it, as Campbell suggests in the piece, an unwillingness to implicate the police:
“Although the Guardian reported the death on its front page, almost all the coverage elsewhere ignored it completely or concentrated on a version of events that suggested that the police’s only connection with Tomlinson had been to try to rescue him from a baying mob of anarchists.”
Update: A BBC spokesman has told Journalism.co.uk:
“It’s simply not true to say the BBC News at Six turned down the footage. We didn’t run it on the Six O’Clock bulletin as we didn’t receive the footage until 7pm. We verified it and ran an extensive piece at Ten O Clock. It’s also been shown extensively across our outlets today.”