#Boston: how Watertown changes news media and journalism forever

Posted on April 19, 2013

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Today is the day journalism as we knew it died. As incidents unfurl in Watertown, Boston, the people have shown on sites like Twitter and Reddit that they have this news story covered.

NBC news and the like are showing viewers what they could’ve learned 30 minutes ago while news sites like the NYT and even the Boston Globe look frightfully slow and cumbersome with their static front pages and lengthy articles.

While the NYT story is great in the analysis and context it provides (the stuff that we journalist say makes us worth our wages) when a story is breaking what people want fresh information and that’s what’s being delivered by the bucket load by people like  on Twitter.

So far this stream curated by Reuters has proved to be the most adept to the game – acting as a curator of content, filtering out the noise and bringing its audience tweets from informed tweeters with a bird’s eye view of the action like MIT professor Seth MnookinMnookin_Twitter_Watertown

Along with Mnookin, journalism student @taylordobbs and  “news enthusiast” @brianjdamico appear to have been the first on the scene, according to their Twitter reports.

It seems that following reports incidents that were being discussed on police scanners led them to the action well before the rest of the traditional news media.

The Boston Police Department also realized that people were turning to Twitter for information and started tweeting advice for Watertown residents. Information is also being packaged in a way that’s of most use to the people who really need it.

This googlemap geographically plots how the story is unfolding. If you’re a concerned local rather than someone gawping at a tragedy from the comfort of your bed, this is the sort of data that matters.

Social media 1 – Mainstream media 0

How the story looked online:

The Guardian

While dozens of tweets poured across Twitter, the online reporters at the Guardian seemed to be stunned into silence. Or perhaps they were sipping flat whites as they sat in their morning conference deciding how to cover the day’s news. You snooze, you lose people.

guardian

The New York Times

The Times’ front page pretty well identifies the problem traditional news is facing. No updates of the action and readers expected to The news does not sleep.

New York Times_Watertown_Boston

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Posted in: media