You want a look at the future of breaking news? This is it.
When a bomb threat ousted The Daily Tar Heel staff from its office on deadline Sunday night, editor Allison Nichols turned to Twitter. Nothing new there, but check this out — she used Twitter to try to discredit a false rumor being spread on Facebook that there was a gunman loose on campus.
Nichols and her staff used social media not only to distribute news, but to monitor it. Because they were savvy at doing both she was able to let her audience know what to fear and what not to fear. That’s journalism.
Oddly enough, e-mail was the big loser Sunday night. The University sent out their alert only after their hand was forced by the DTH’s own breaking news alert. Neither, however, sent an email saying the coast was clear. And because I wasn’t monitoring social media on Sunday night, when I logged in to my email and went to the DTH Web site on Monday morning, I was left wondering whether the bomb scare was still developing.
So, Twitter beats Facebook beats e-mail. Ready? 1-2-3…