Firstly, my thoughts are with all the people suffering in Haiti after this horrible tragedy. The Red Cross tweeted that you can help by texting “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to relief efforts. If you know of any other ways to help, let me know and I will add it here.
This just went up on Mashable… 9 Ways to help Haiti
As I was just watching the news on CNN, there was a clear presence of social media in their reports on Haiti. In fact, it was ALL social media.
They were pulling pictures from twitter and facebook, they used google earth to show you where the earthquake took place. The only piece of investigative journalism they did was interview the people posting up twitpics! I also saw other media sources commenting on pictures, asking the person where they took the picture? (the extent of their background check)?
They provided literally NO original content. The CNN employee sitting at a computer monitoring social networks was doing the same thing as any other web savvy user seeking out news. They were as investigative as anyone using twitter search as they filled in time by scrolling through the same 10 pictures they found on twitter, and teaching us about earthquakes…
It’s great that they’re implementing social content into their coverage, but now it just seems like they’re relying on it…
When social networks become an investigative journalist’s best resource, do they still have a purpose? Are they no better than automatic filters, choosing which information we get to see?
Note: I realize that this may be an exceptional case. Among other variables, as I was watching the news, it was still very unsafe for reporters travel into Haiti. Still, I believe it’s a possible trend worth discussing.
EDIT: I just want to point out that this post was meant to discuss a possible trend. It was not a statement of the current situation. The day after writing this, once CNN was able to get to Haiti, Anderson Cooper showed us that good journalism still exists and how important it still is.