The Changing Face of News Reporting

I remember a very long time ago as a teenager I would sit with my parents watching TV in the evening. We would always centre the viewing for the night around the main evening news at 9 o’clock. We would talk very little during this time unless it was a major event. The following day unless there was an extremely important event there would be no discussion of events. There were exceptions but they were few and far between.Now move forward to today and what I am sure will ultimately be called the Facebook generation. New reporting is changing and changing dramatically. I would use two very recent tragic events to highlight not only on the immediacy of news reporting but also how it has become interactive. I had stirred myself out of my slumber on a

Sunday 23rd of October to watch the rugby world cup final between France and New Zealand. This in itself was indicative of the changing times we live in as I watched the match with my iPod touch beside me and sharing the experience with a number of people through a combination of twitter and Facebook. I knew for instance that Andy Lark was attending in person had good seats at the final. I also knew that David Mondon was fighting the good fight defending the path his national team had taken to the final but we forgave him because he is French.

All thoughts of the rugby were put to one side by me and many others as word reached us of a terrible crash at the Malaysian Motogp. Marco Simoncelli had veered across the track trying to recover from a bad slide and had been struck by two other riders. Reports continued to come in very quickly through Facebook and Twitter and we knew pretty quickly that the news was the worst possible.How this highlighted to me that the world had changed was I received the news and the updates through Facebook and twitter. The major news services were a full hour behind the news. In fact the BBC, who I put a great deal of stock into as a news service, had no report of the event for two hours after it broke on the internet.So the first question is have traditional news services missed the opportunity to utilise new mediums to ensure timely reporting?

The other event was far more important not because of the tragedy, which was terrible, but the manner in which it was reported. In Ireland a new news service started recently, The Journal.ie may on first look appear to be a normal web based news service. What marks it out from other services is that it was and is predominantly delivered through Facebook.While every website delivering news may have the functionality to allow readers to post a link of a particular news story to their facebook or twitter account and thereby share with others, The Journal  is already a post on Facebook and any comments posted on an article are immediately on Facebook. The event that I am referring to was the death of a young Garda Siochana (Irish police officer) on October 20th. Ciaran Jones was off duty and was with his brother and sister at a bridge in county Wicklow where flooding was in danger of washing away the bridge. As cars approached Ciaran moved to warn them not to approach any nearer but was swept away by the river.

What stands out on this story, relative to this article, was the level of interaction. The Journal reported that the young man was missing. A current affairs program on TV took a look at the morning papers. In one paper they reported the young police officer as having lost his life. In fact this was also stated in comments on The Journal but was rebuked by a poster who used language that indicated they were close to the incident management team. Comments were made on the Journal article referring to the TV program and the newspaper drew some criticism for inaccurate reporting.

It was, in fact, some 7 hours later before Ciaran Jones body was found.Which leads to the second question, do people expect their news to be more interactive. Simply sharing a news item on your facebook or linkedIn page may not be enough anymore as people want to post directly on the original publication. Their comments forming part of the news in itself.The real question is how this will affect marketing and selling to the Facebook generation. A greater level of immediacy and interaction far beyond traditional channels may see the need for an even greater investment in Social Media engagement. Product reviews could become far more interactive. Product launches, particularly for the consumer market may require new approaches. For example the launch of a new laptop may see a number of non-professionals being provided with pre-launch models and invited to engage on the launch page with real time reviews.Is tt may be only a matter of time before we see traditional media overtaken by a Facebook technology publication?

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