Boothe's 4202 Blog

How the Internet and Technology is changing Editing

Tweeting in the UK

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Case Study 7.1

When the story broke about several armed men using grenades to attack people in Liege, Belgium, the BBC News and RTE News chose different avenues on how to cull additional information about the suspects, situation and circumstances of the incident.

Both have similar facts working after the attack. At least two people were dead and dozens more injured. The grenades went off near a bus stop. Here’s the final report from the BBC.

In order to quickly get more details, the Great Britain-based BBC reached out to its readership instead of relying solely on its reporters like Irish news site RTE. The BBC has been experimenting heavily with the use of citizen journalism since the 2010 London bombings.

Through both Twitter and an automatic message system on its website, the BBC asked: “Are you in Liege? Did you witness what took place? Send your experiences to the BBC using the form below.”

The move seems pretty audacious and risky considering there’s few ways to vet the veracity of sources over the phone and when a media outlet is in a rush to break news. Hearsay stemming from panic in the situation and speculation run rampant after disasters and dangerous situations.

The BBC has a growing history of encouraging citizen journalism through. In recent months it has gone so far as to facilitate input and feedback from readers by creating a cell phone app.

The biggest issue here is clearly that the BBC is asking citizens to do the reporting for them in this instance. It almost feels like they’re throwing in the towel and that the attack was just too big for their own journalists to handle.

Instead of going out to find pertinent sources and credible witnesses, the BBC casted a wide, speculative net and hoped it would get something truthful in return.

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Written by jboothe

March 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Good.

    Ronald R. Rodgers

    March 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm


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