In the last couple of weeks two seemingly unrelated events occurred. Nov 26 – Nov 29: terrorists carried out ten coordinated attacks, killing nearly 200 civilians in India. Nov 30: the UK’s Times erroneously reported a Microsoft/Yahoo deal in which Microsoft would acquire Yahoo’s search business for $20b.
What’s important is how the two events were covered by traditional versus new media. In short, new media triumphed.
Regarding terrorism in India –
It took established news organizations 2-3 hours on average before they were able to provide any kind of substantial information on the attacks. Meanwhile, there were hundreds of online outlets with real time updates from private citizens giving first hand accounts of the incidents.
A great summary of the events as well as a list of some of the best new media news sources can be found here at Matthew Ingram’s blog; but the point is throughout the attacks more and better information was available on Flickr, Youtube and Twitter than on CNN, ABC or the BBC.
Yes the information online may not have been as accessible to the average, non-tech savvy user but that’s irrelevant. The model and legitimacy of new media journalism was proven.
The issue with the Times’ false story is more of the same. The Times, a well established news media source, published a story that was patently false (and over a week later the article is still up on their site). However, tech blogs like Techcrunch reported on this false story within minutes – first questioning the validity of the story and hours later discounting it entirely.
The point isn’t to bash traditional media. However, so many from that community have been unjustifiably dismissive of new media news coverage that it’s fun to see them wiping a little egg off their sour visages.