News keeps hitting me in the face. It leaps out of my Twitter stream and I find myself on top of stories that even my husband doesn’t know about and he works at BBC news. http://news.bbc.co.uk/
As journalism expert Jeff Jarvis says in his excellent Buzz Machine blog http://www.buzzmachine.com/ in the age of Twitter, news comes to us and we distribute it.
Twitter has cracked open the whole business of information exchange. People with something to say no longer need to whisper their news to journalists in town hall corridors and pubs, they can pass the information directly to us via the Twitter stream. News finds its audience without having to be mediated by ‘experts’ and everyone gets the chance to write an opinion piece. And if you think that leaves us knee-deep in dross then think of the re-tweet button as your editor, which allows quality to rise to the top.
I find it an attractive and highly democratic scenario. Citizen journalism is already advanced. Not only are there millions of blogs, but people are up-loading their own video and photos at a rate that is leaving the conventional broadcasters struggling to keep up.
The BBC has appointed a social media editor, they increasingly allow the audience to drive the content of radio shows, in Philadelphia there are plans to create a citizen journalism hub which will feed into the mainstream media. All this creativity suggests that people are doing in for themselves and the big boys are being left behind. As one BBC guy put it, ‘If it has been published on a web platform, then in effect we have already been scooped.’
And yet there is still something of the journalist in me that wonders if the ‘experts’ might still be of use, to spot the story and make the links, to pluck the dirt covered gems from the muddy Twitter stream, and polish them up for our consumption.
Let me know what you think. Is the journalist surplus to requirements in the Twitter age ?