Grab bag! (Part one)

4 Oct

Wow.  I haven’t posted on this blog in a while. It seems as though school and work have had me busier than expected. Nevertheless, I’ve still been paying attention to the news and I have three things that I want to talk about. (Some of them are a little dated now, but still important to discuss.)

Twitter: Funny name, serious consequences.

It’s easy to not take Twitter seriously. It’s got a goofy name. You can identify yourself however you want. Kanye West is a faithful user.

I mean, seriously.

But so are many journalists and news organizations. And while Twitter might seem to have different rules than other media outlets — it’s only 140 characters, for Pete’s sake! —  in reality it doesn’t. Mike Wise, a Washington Post sportswriter, learned that the hard way.

Back at the end of August, Wise deliberately tweeted false information about the length of a football player’s suspension. Wise was experimenting, seeing how often media outlets fact check when obtaining information from social media such as Twitter.

I see his point. But the way he went about proving that point was wrong and I think his month-long suspension was fair. Because he actually proved two things with his false tweet.

1) People should fact check more often.

2) People see Twitter as a legitimate source of news.

Number two is the biggie. Obviously, people aren’t reading newspapers as often as they used to.  But they still want news and they still want it from legitimate sources. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Now that pretty much anyone can publish whatever they want via the Internet, we don’t hold a monopoly on news anymore. But we can hold a monopoly on good news. Accuracy sets us apart and makes us relevant.

I don’t think Wise is a bad journalist or a bad guy. He just made a bad decision. But I think we can all learn from his lesson: Think before you tweet!

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