Back in the day, maybe five years ago, traditional media still had the control over breaking news stories. I still remember the day Osama Bin Laden was found and killed and the news conference that President Obama held, but I mostly remember how CNN was the first news agency to break the story. CNN held control of the story that night because they got to it first. Now it seems as though news agencies come second with breaking news stories, but why is that? Well, my friends, it is because Social Media has stolen the spotlight from them.
It used to be that a news agency would get a tip from somebody or something that would lead them to a breaking story. For example, when JFK was assassinated someone who was on the scene might have run to a telephone and call in their news station, and then the news would be broken to the people. But today it is different, rather than someone calling a news agency and telling them about the situation, people are taking breaking news into their own hands. Say you’re at a music festival and the musician on stage collapses. A few people out of the thousands in attendance may pull up their phones and tweet something out. Then the retweets come, and the likes, and soon after the story is featured on CBC or Global News. The people have the power to inform others of situations that are transpiring in real time. Rather than waiting for the news stations to comment on the events, you can tune into twitter and look up a #hashtag. Twitter’s information is never-ending, and always constant. Hundreds of tweets pass by in an hour on my account; the more you follow the more you see.
One of the most recent events that I can think of was the bomb threat that MacEwan experienced just a few months ago. Rather than hearing about it from my own University, I heard about it through a Facebook post on MacEwan’s Books Buy and Sell page. Social media broke the news quicker than the official sources that we constantly rely on. Although this event was not world news, it was important to those that attend our university. However, the beauty of Social Media and News Agencies is that now we can all work together in order to keep people safe and informed of what is going on in the world. We can tweet news agencies and they can in return provide more coverage than a regular person can. Something happens, you tweet a news agency; the news agency receives multiple tweets on the subject, then they go into action and start to mobilize their coverage; sooner than later the news is broken and people are informed.
Just a side story: The other day, Paige and I were driving down Stony Plain Road and we noticed that all the lights were out from 150th street to about 165th street. So as a response, we tweeted b0th Sonic 102.9 and Now Radio and they broadcasted the information out to the people of Edmonton as soon as they could.
MacEwan Bomb Threat Article: http://edmontonjournal.com/news/local-news/student-charged-after-online-threat-to-macewan-university