PBS Off Book, a web series that explores art and internet culture, produced a video that puts into perspective a question that many newspeople have been asking themselves lately: “Is Twitter ruining journalism or making it better?”
Analysts in the video charge that Twitter enables journalists to develop and share stories as they’re happening. At the same time, anyone with a Twitter account is able to do the same thing. Which information is valid? It’s hard to say– but that doesn’t mean journalism doesn’t have a place among the torrent of tweets.
Journalists have a responsibility to help bring news that matters to the surface. Trending topics on Twitter can be dismal in terms of representing what people are most interested in– so news people need to try their hardest to not only let people know what’s going on in their world, but let them know why those things are relevant to their lives.
The video also makes the point that if the public determines what is news and what is not through what they read on the Twittersphere, which is traditionally the role of the news media, our society may become even more fragmented than many scholars say media has already caused it to become.
Here are some notable quotes from the video that may make you stop and think about Twitter’s role in journalism, and vice versa:
“Journalism is less about making a product and more about providing a service.”
Journalists who really excel at Twitter are those who recognize that it’s not just a promotional platform…it’s a global conversation.”
“We have to break out of this idea that news is a once-a-day platform.”