As with most breaking news events these days, I flipped on the television and opened my laptop to follow my Twitter feed. Given what has happened in recent breaking news events (Boston Marathon shootings, Navy Yard shootings, Newtown shootings) I have become a little more active in questioning what comes out in the hours after a breaking news event. I don't do this to point fingers.....it's more of an ongoing effort to get journalists to change their Twitter ethos. My hope is that change will come and journalists will begin to slow down and report what they know.
It didn't take long for information to start coming out of the social media firehose and I asked several folks where their information was coming from.
My questions and comments were not received well. Apparently, "professor" is now a phrase of scorn.
I've talked and written about retweeting and how you have to own what you retweet. Trying to pass off a retweet as the reporting of someone else doesn't work. It's your name that goes out with a retweet, make sure it's right.
To his credit, Tapper tracked down the source but his information left me wanting more. A former LAPD officer? Is he on the scene? Where is he getting his information? Is it secondhand? Thirdhand? Are we really confident of this information based on this source?
Space constraints have always been present in journalism and while the space is indeed restricted on Twitter, it's not an excuse to circumvent good journalism. One option is to do a series of tweets -- and on a breaking news story that's not a bad idea.
Meanwhile, a hoax site was created fairly quickly and some news organizations picked up on it and published it. I don't get why people create hoax sites but there are some fairly basic checks journalists should be performing on such tweets.