Monday, October 25, 2010

Dear Fox 4 in Dallas: Social Media Might Not Be The Problem

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 10:36 AM

Every day has a YouTube video that goes along with it, and today (so far), it's a video created by a Fox affiliate in Dallas for their local Emmy awards.

I guess this is supposed to be funny, with old media types really sticking it to social media obsessed news producers, but it's just not connecting for me. (Full disclosure: I am employed as a web producer, so maybe this hits a little too close to home.) While the rush provide content on nearly every possible platform can be a little tedious—just watch an hour of CNN to get an idea of how this can go wrong—the real problem is that terrible reporting is still terrible when its on a new hip platform of the moment like Twitter.

Still, what ends up being disappointing about this video for me is that a breaking story—like a shooter on the loose—is exactly where multiple platforms with more immediacy are an improvement over a TV station breaking into an episode of Judge Judy. In 2001, the lag between the first plane hitting the World Trade Center and when I actually heard about it was shockingly long by 2010 standards. I was running late for work, didn't turn on the TV at home, had a CD on in the car, and sat down to work on an Excel spreadsheet for a while before someone told me the office was shutting down for the day. These days, even outside of a world-dislodging story like Sept. 11, if there was a gunman downtown, something would buzz on my iPhone within moments of the story breaking, and I'd be able to react accordingly. That's why at the Weekly, we are trying to think of better ways to report the news as it's useful to you, the consumer, on whatever platform you're using. Obviously, that's hopefully not via a Facebook photo of one of our reporters and a bodybag, and there is some trial and error in finding the best way to convey information on Twitter, etc., but the desire to tell stories, provide context and also entertain doesn't really change.

If you have ideas on how we can do that better, please let us know—either in the comments, via e-mail, or even through a tweet.

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