“If the mainstream media are unable to address news stories that are freely available elsewhere, we will look increasingly irrelevant”
Paul Dacre, Mail Editor at the Leveson Inquiry
This week, the FA sacked their manager Fabio Capello. Pretty big news.
And, when browsing some of the coverage, I was suddenly struck by the role that Twitter played in the reporting of the story. It was as though every article or news broadcast pulled in comments that someone football-related had made on Twitter upon hearing the resignation.
I know this is nothing new, the number of news articles that are almost entirely based on a tweet is soaring by the day. It’s a fascinating change to the status quo.
In the pre-Twitter days, journalists would get comments directly from sources and they would then reveal these comments to their audiences through articles or VTs.
Today, these comments are made directly to the public with the ‘celebrity’ in question often having a audience of tens of thousands themselves. The traditional media are therefore left to report on the tweet itself, even though many readers might have already already seen it.
It’s not hard to see how this marginalises traditional media.
And again, yes, none of this is new.
Twitter – the enemy or the solution?
Now, despite the extent of the fascist enforcement you believe these two media corporations are engaging in, these reports seems to be pretty telling.
There is not but a little irony hidden away here. For these are not easy times for traditional media outlets. Journalists with swathes of Twitter followers and enthusiastic communities can be a massive benefit. But it is not hard to see how the money-people and those who live and breathe on page views might think differently.
For those of us that work in PR, this dichotomy is nothing new. It’s perfectly conceivable now for a brand to have a bigger social community that the journalists that it has sought to influence over the last however-many-years.
And that’s a pretty liberating possibility.
I’m off to an event tomorrow at Social Media Week London entitled “Twitter, the Butterfly Effect and the Future of Journalism” and I’m sure it will touch on some of these themes.
It’s a tough time for traditional media. But I can’t help thinking that laying down rules isn’t necessarily the answer. The status quo won’t work IMHO.