Ok, so I’m not as addicted to social media as I am to my morning cup of Cafecito (espresso for my non-Spanish speaking friends), but I am a convert to the power & impact of social media. As a veteran TV/Radio journalist, I’m amazed by the immediacy of Social Media. Back in the day, I remember when all-news radio was the most immediate source of news & information. I should know, I had the privilege of reporting at New York’s WCBS Newsradio 880 back in the mid-90’s and then again in the weeks and months following 9/11.
Social Media played a key role in many of this year’s biggest news stories: the Arab Spring, the Death of Osama Bin Laden, and most recently the horrific domestic terror attack in Norway. These events were among the most widely Tweeted and re-tweeted stories. YouTube carried lots of video; news organizations and average citizens uploaded images and shared first-hand accounts of what was transpiring. The experience brought me back 20 years, it reminded me of when I worked as a News Coordinator/Producer at NBC’s affiliate feed service NewsChannel (back in early 1991 at the start of the Gulf War). We had endless raw feeds coming in, with so many images (many graphic) and a lot of information to process.
While the instantaneous access to information is incredible, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall into the trap of allowing other’s opinionated tweets or posts become our sole information source. In the words of my friend Steve Ryan, “Social Media is the new Wild, Wild West” and anyone can use it to advance their agenda, which could be both good and bad. With that said, there will always be a need for good communicators and quality journalism. I value the work of my colleagues in the Fourth Estate because they help me and the rest of the world put things into context and perspective.