I offer no sterling insights, no prognosis for my industry, nor presricptions for its health. I offer only a simple obeservation: Social media is transforming journalism, and nowhere is its impact as obvious as in the curating of breaking news.
We used a service called CoverItLive to aggregate our own tweets and selected tweets and Instagram photos of others during our coverage of Candice Glover’s “American Idol” story. It was a convenient way to provide continuous news and reaction from the season finale and allowed us to bag up work we were already doing and put it in a conspicuous place on our website.
But the coverage of natural disasters, like last week’s tornados in Kansas and Oklahoma, demonstrate how social media not only provides convenience but, in certain situations, serves public safety by dispatching actionable news quickly. The ability to report by smartphone was no doubt hobbled by the destruction of cell towers and Internet connections, but enough news still made it in a timely fashion to keep people informed of the scope of the devastation and, it is hoped, to keep others safe by warning those in the storm’s path and aftermath of the dangers all around them.
Here are two aggregations using Storify, a tool somewhat similar to CoverItLive, to chronicle the storm. The first was compiled by Julie Moos, the senior digital editor at the McClatchy Company’s Washingto, D.C., bureau. It is an embed we attached to the developing story on our website as events unfolded May 20. The second is from NPR’s “The Two-Way.”