17 April 2013

Time for another blogger ethics panel

It's been a long day, but I couldn't ignore what was a tough day on many levels:
Earlier today CNN reported an arrest related to the Boston Marathon bombing.  Hours later they had to essentially retract their reporting.  Their big mistake - apparently they didn't ask the authorities on the record if there was any arrest before they broadcast their report.

These are the types of events I point to (the initial reports on the Supreme Court's Affordable Care Act ruling is another example) whenever I see people criticize social media channels as rumor mills.  The simple truth: Twitter has become the best breaking news tool humanity has ever seen. When Boston's hometown newspaper reported on the bombings at the marathon they simply converted their website to a Twitter stream.  But the most popular comment today on Twitter's value as a news tool appears to be this:
And yet the next day there was CNN rolling out a former Homeland Security Advisor and one of its signature journalists with ties to Boston getting the story completely wrong.  Obviously the stakes are much higher for a news network than a random guy with a twitter handle. So clearly CNN followed a process, got the requisite number of sources, and went ahead with their story.  But the great thing about Twitter today - if you have a question, you can just ask, just as the authorities will ask you for help.  Even the Boston Police Department gets this.


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Joel K said...

It all depends on how the platform is used. As with all things in life, things can be used for good, and some for the not so good. It is the responisbilty of the individual to decide how they will use what they are given.