Social Media and News Gathering

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We are living in what is known as The Computer Age, commonly referred to as The Digital Age. It’s an era where finding information is "immediate and accessible" (Sagan, Leighton, 2011 pg.1). The internet has spawned what we call the 24/7 news cycle. With social networking, current and up to date news can be passed along friends and news feeds, perhaps even faster than the traditional news networks can react to. This has had a strong impact on the TV Broadcast News industry because people don't necessarily need to be watching to stay informed about current events. The TV industry has always been about keeping up with audience's demands, and because of that, many Major News Organizations have turned to social media as a tool for news gathering (Bakhurst, 2011). According to a digital Journalism study, Out of 660 editors and Journalists asked, 55% said they use social media to "source new stories" (Bennett, 2012). There are concerns however regarding social media that some Journalists have expressed. Although information is travelling at alarming speeds, it doesn't mean it is accurate, especially when information can be coming from unknown sources such as someone's twitter account. Social Media is a relatively new tool used for news gathering, and how it is used may differ from broadcaster to broadcaster. Furthermore, there have been ethical questions that have been puzzling some journalists recently due to social media. It is best for broadcasters to come up with clear guidelines for using social-media to aid live coverage of breaking events.
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