The idea of using social media to report a story is appalling to some journalists. They have a certain germophobia when it comes to the Internet. Because it is littered with rumor and lies, they never use it as a source for a story, they say. They’re right, of course. Social media like Twitter and Wikipedia are littered with rumor and lies, but so are most city halls and almost every other place journalists ply their trade.
Social media, I tell my students who have been scared away from it by other professors and editors, are like all sources — a great place to start and a lousy place to finish.
Armed with the same skepticism and curiosity with which I treat any other source, I try to teach students to stop worrying and love the hyperlink.