Twitter and the future of journalism

twitter logo On Friday, David Schlesinger from Reuters posted an entry to his blog discussing Twitter and the future of journalism. David had been tweeting from the World Economic Forum, and found that his updates beat the Reuters newswire. No big surprise, but it prompted a bunch of questions:

Is it journalism?

Is it dangerous?

Is it embarrassing that my tweets even beat the Reuters newswire?

Am I destroying Reuters standards by encouraging tweeting or blogging?

David’s answers are: Yes, Potentially, No, and No. I love that someone in the “mainstream” media is able to answer these questions honestly and openly!

His entire post is filled with wonderful quotes, such as:

I have no idea what journalism will look like in five years except that it will be different than it is now. That’s a great thing, I believe.

Fantastic outlook on things, in my opinion. Twitter is changing journalism and news media for the better. Ignore it at your own peril. I can’t say it any better than David himself:

If I don’t beat the Reuters wire with a live tweet because I deliberately hold back, someone else will. If I don’t beat the Reuters wire because I’m slow or inattentive, someone else will.

There’s something to be said for holding back, providing context, and thoughtfully articulating a story or idea. But when you’re talking about breaking and spreading the news, speed is the name of the game, and nothing at the moment does it faster or more effectively than Twitter.

Another way to look at it is chunking. Give me bite-sized chunks as the news happens, and when I have time later, I’ll explore the topic in more detail. Twitter is perfect for chunking news.

Take a couple minutes and read the entire post. I’m looking forward to reading it again in a year – I suspect it won’t seem so unique and refreshing by then!

2 thoughts on “Twitter and the future of journalism

  1. I read David’s post with interest. I think there is room for all and I agree with him about the value of tweeting news bites – or as you say – chunking news. I don’t write 140-character tweets instead of stories – it’s just part of what I do.

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