Oct 24, 2012

Twitter journalism

I am irritated by mainstream newspapers' adoption of Twitter as their primary source for quotes. You find journalists peppering their articles with stuff like this:

“I live and breathe this stuff, and I’m bored,” she wrote on Twitter.

How is this good journalism? We can all type queries into a search box and pull empty quotes like this. But how does this tell us anything new? Similarly, quoting measurements of Internet hit counts or post frequencies does not turn those numbers into real statistics. What happened to in-depth journalism? This used to involve research, interviews and analysis, so as to present newsworthy events along with carefully drawn insights and commentary. No longer. "For the record" is being replaced by "according to Google". Hey, I should post that to my twitter feed.

Update: Data from Pew research shows that, in the case of TV news, news reportage has dramatically dropped in favor of opinion shows.