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Twittering the news Journalism or something like it in 140 characters or fewer.

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Presentation on theme: "Twittering the news Journalism or something like it in 140 characters or fewer."— Presentation transcript:

1 Twittering the news Journalism or something like it in 140 characters or fewer

2 Twitter’s moment Mumbai terrorist attacks a breakthrough (Photo copyright © 2008 by Arun Shanbhag)

3 What is Twitter? Micro-blogging platform

4 What is Twitter? Micro-blogging platform Begun in October 2006

5 What is Twitter? Micro-blogging platform Begun in October 2006 Has an estimated 6 million users

6 What is Twitter? Micro-blogging platform Begun in October 2006 Has an estimated 6 million users Online at

7 Technology and the news With Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the Web was a reporting tool for a small number of journalists

8 Technology and the news By the time of 9/11, the Web was well- established, but servers failed. Last TV-only news event

9 Technology and the news London subway attacks were documented by cell-phone photos

10 Technology and the news Protests in Burma (left) and Paris, coup in Thailand, Virginia Tech shootings and other events have all had a heavy citizen- journalism component

11 Twitter and Mumbai 80 posts every five seconds

12 What were people saying? Eyewitness accounts –“Mumbai terrorists are asking hotel reception for rooms of American citizens and holding them hostage on one floor”

13 What were people saying? Eyewitness accounts Pleas for assistance

14 What were people saying? Eyewitness accounts Pleas for assistance Requests from police to stop

15 What were people saying? Eyewitness accounts Pleas for assistance Requests from police to stop Rumors — death counts were wrong

16 Arun Shanbhag Professor at Harvard Medical School in Mumbai when terrorists attacked

17 Arun Shanbhag Professor at Harvard Medical School in Mumbai when terrorists attacked Posted reports to Twitter account Twitter account

18 Arun Shanbhag Professor at Harvard Medical School in Mumbai when terrorists attacked Posted reports to Twitter account Twitter account Posted photos to Flickr account Flickr account

19 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths –Immediacy, because you follow the story as it is happening

20 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths –Immediacy, because you follow the story as it is happening –Citizen voices supplement professional journalists

21 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses –Rumor-mongering: What is true?

22 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses –Rumor-mongering: What is true? –Torrent of information

23 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses –Rumor-mongering: What is true? –Torrent of information –Lack of context and meaning

24 Strengths and weaknesses Strengths Weaknesses Role for professional journalism –Curate, moderate and sift the conversation so that what’s true, interesting and useful rises to the top

25 An infamous moment Rocky Mountain News tweets funeral of 3-year-old

26 An infamous moment Rocky Mountain News tweets funeral of 3-year-old Why were observers so disgusted?

27 An infamous moment Rocky Mountain News tweets funeral of 3-year-old Why were observers so disgusted? Different from local television news?

28 Effective uses of Twitter Odd items with no other place to go

29 Effective uses of Twitter Odd items with no other place to go Rough draft of a news story

30 Ineffective uses of Twitter Posting hypes of what’s on your news organization’s Web site, like RSS

31 Some Twitter conventions Search with hash marks (#) –#mumbai –#redsox –#obama

32 Some Twitter conventions Search with hash marks (#) Identify other users with “at”

33 Some Twitter conventions Search with hash marks (#) Identify other users with “at” “Retweeting”

34 Some Twitter conventions Search with hash marks (#) Identify other users with “at” “Retweeting” TinyURL

35 Some notable Twitter feeds John Dickerson Ana Marie Cox Jay Rosen Howard Owens Ken George Dan Gillmor Fake Rahm Emanuel

36 Credits CNN.com New York Times MindyMcAdams.com Poynter.org


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