‘Live blogging and social media curation by Einar Thorsen’ summary

Thorsen is essentially showing a debate between whether live blogging and the use of social media can be classed as journalism in this article.

To begin with a brief overview is outlined as to how journalists use social media and live blogging alongside facts such as the internet ‘becoming the most popular source of news for UK 16-24 year olds’. The importance of social media in sharing news is outlined through the figure of one in five people coming across news stories through social media.

The facts outlined in the first part of the paper lead on to the first of two case studies looking into how journalists have successfully used social media and live blogging to present news. The study is on Andrew Sparrow who live blogged the 2010 general elections on The Guardian website. He used live blogging as well as his own analysis and commentary and news reports, blogs, and social media links in order to provide a news commentary of the event as it unfolded in real-time. Although this allowed the general public to be updated on the general election as it happened there was opposition to his live blogging. John Symes, a journalist and blogger, commented that live blogging was ‘the death of journalism’. He was of the opinion that live blogging was no different than being in a room full of people all shouting their opinion for the camera rather than an organised source of news. However the conclusion I drew from this was that live blogging may sometimes encounter issues, such as too much news being told at once and a lack of order, however it allows the public to be given news as it happens rather than wait for an organised report to be published in a paper or online. It also allows a neutral tone to be given to a news story as information and facts are shown visually as they happen rather than a journalist writing their own interpretation of a story, which allows the public to digest the news given to them and form their own opinions.

The second case study used is about senior digital strategist at the US National Public Radio Andy Carvin and his prolific use of Twitter. He used Twitter extensively to report on the Arab Spring event in 2011, and by using information from Facebook, YouTube, and the internet, mixed with his own eye witness accounts, he provided an online real-time news story for the world that detailed the events happening. He described his use of Twitter to report as ‘observing an oral history in real time’ as he could tell people across the world what was happening as it was occurring. He used hashtags to identify sources he could use and follow that were relevant to the story he was telling which was useful in getting more information than eye-witness accounts can provide, however this caused scepticism from other journalists who saw this as finding information from unreliable sources. It can be concluded that using tweets from anyone to find information is dangerous as there is no telling whether the information being given is fact or rumour. Nevertheless using Twitter to live report is a useful tool for commenting on eye-witness accounts and giving information on a news story as it happens.

To conclude Thorsen’s article shows both the positives and negatives of live blogging with the general conclusion I draw from it being that live blogging and social media are great tools for journalists to use when breaking news as it happens.