Posts tagged slow news

Twitter Threat, Twitter Promise, During Breaking News Events
Via Mathew Ingram:

That said, however, there’s no question that Twitter is one of the best tools for breaking-news delivery since the telegraph. Unfortunately, it is also a great tool for distributing lies, speculation, innuendo, hoaxes and every other form of inaccurate information. I’ve argued before that this is just the way the news works now — the news wire and police scanner are no longer available only to journalists, but to anyone who cares to listen. And so is the ability to republish.
Should Twitter do more to verify sources, or highlight accurate information, as some have suggested? It’s an appealing idea. The service could try to use geotagging to identify those who are close to the scene, or some other method to determine credibility — something third-party services like Sulia and Storyful also try to do through a variety of methods. But is that really Twitter’s place?…
…Why don’t we get YouTube to verify the source of videos as well, like the ones that are posted from Syria or Egypt? Or get Google to sort the news it pulls in based on the likelihood of it being credible? The simplest answer is that this isn’t what those services are for — they are distribution engines, or pipes (a series of tubes, if you will). Asking them to become news entities is a little like asking AT&T to eavesdrop on phone calls in order to figure out who is a terrorist.
Rather than relying on Twitter to do this, I think it’s far better to accept the somewhat chaotic nature of the medium, and rely on journalists — and not just the professional kind, but the amateur kind as well — to filter that information in real time, the way Andy Carvin did during the Arab Spring (by using Twitter as a crowdsourced newsroom) and others did during Sandy and the Colorado shootings. Over time, I believe, Twitter becomes a kind of self-cleaning oven, as writer Sasha Frere-Jones put it.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by Geoff Grammer.

Twitter Threat, Twitter Promise, During Breaking News Events

Via Mathew Ingram:

That said, however, there’s no question that Twitter is one of the best tools for breaking-news delivery since the telegraph. Unfortunately, it is also a great tool for distributing lies, speculation, innuendo, hoaxes and every other form of inaccurate information. I’ve argued before that this is just the way the news works now — the news wire and police scanner are no longer available only to journalists, but to anyone who cares to listen. And so is the ability to republish.

Should Twitter do more to verify sources, or highlight accurate information, as some have suggested? It’s an appealing idea. The service could try to use geotagging to identify those who are close to the scene, or some other method to determine credibility — something third-party services like Sulia and Storyful also try to do through a variety of methods. But is that really Twitter’s place?…

…Why don’t we get YouTube to verify the source of videos as well, like the ones that are posted from Syria or Egypt? Or get Google to sort the news it pulls in based on the likelihood of it being credible? The simplest answer is that this isn’t what those services are for — they are distribution engines, or pipes (a series of tubes, if you will). Asking them to become news entities is a little like asking AT&T to eavesdrop on phone calls in order to figure out who is a terrorist.

Rather than relying on Twitter to do this, I think it’s far better to accept the somewhat chaotic nature of the medium, and rely on journalists — and not just the professional kind, but the amateur kind as well — to filter that information in real time, the way Andy Carvin did during the Arab Spring (by using Twitter as a crowdsourced newsroom) and others did during Sandy and the Colorado shootings. Over time, I believe, Twitter becomes a kind of self-cleaning oven, as writer Sasha Frere-Jones put it.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by Geoff Grammer.

We get stories much faster than we can make sense of them, informed by cellphone pictures and eyewitnesses found on social networks and dubious official sources like police scanner streams. Real life moves much slower than these technologies. There’s a gap between facts and comprehension, between finding some pictures online and making sense of how they fit into a story. What ends up filling that gap is speculation. On both Twitter and cable, people are mostly just collecting little factoids and thinking aloud about various possibilities. They’re just shooting the shit, and the excrement ends up flying everywhere and hitting innocent targets.

Farhad Manjoo, Slate. Breaking News Is Broken.

FJP: Two things here — Adopt a slow news diet or pay very close attention to how you follow breaking news. Else, as Farhad suggests, take a long walk.

How We Follow Breaking News
A lot is happening in Boston, just like a lot has happened in past months, including a lot of hype on the news, a lot of confusion, and the spread of quite some misinformation.
But eventually, the chase ends, the investigations close, the who, what, where, when, and how get answered, and the why gets speculated over until everyone agrees on a narrative that can help us digest the horror. The journey involves a lot of hype, and lot of (digital and analog) talk around the coffee-machine, Facebook feeds and Twitter channels. Some people end up very hurt, some people cynical, some people apathetic, some people clueless, some people motivated to help however they can.
So what can we take away from events like today in Boston? We can think about how we read about it. And in the era of everyone having a voice and a blog and the power to create content, it might help to think a little bit like a journalist.
Breaking news creates an information fog. Mistakes are made as rumors are spread. Important though is to think about how we follow and consume news, and if we’re journalists ourselves, how we report — and when we report — the latest factoid that comes across our radar. As GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram writes, Twitter shows how the news is made, and it’s not pretty — but it’s better that we see it.
Here’s our two-step process for following breaking news, keeping the drama to a minimum, and finding voices who know what they are talking about:
1. Pick a place to get a regularly updated version of the big picture.
If you don’t have cable or choose to stay online instead of on TV, you can watch CNN’s livestream here. Or, if you’re not at your computer and not in front of a TV but still want to listen in there are apps for that. For example, TuneIn Radio is available for the iPhone and iPad and gives you access to local, regional and global radio stations and broadcast network feeds. But keep in mind that they too get their stuff wrong sometimes, and if you’re watching TV (or reading the NY Post) you’re in for a lot of drama.
Examples of places to keep track of the big picture:
The New York Times Lede Blog
The Atlantic Wire
The Reuters live feed
2. Get on Twitter for primary sources to supplement that big picture and ask your own questions about it.
It’s the place where news breaks these days and holds a ton of value in the discovery-of-information ecosystem. It’s my first stop, nearly always. But it’s also a space for misinformation to spread incredibly fast so knowing how to use it (and not abuse it) falls into the hands of us—the people on it. Think (like a journalist would) about who’s gonna have the (mostly like correct) valuable information on the situation. This morning we were following people like Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa, The Wall Street Journal’s Liz Heron and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley. Even closer to the action, here’s a public list on Watertown put together by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan.
But think: Who’s actually there? Follow news organizations for regular updates. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook too. You’ll get linked out to further resources as the events unfold without having to keep up with just one paper’s website up all day.
Google the local publications, namely The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. Who are the reporters on the story? Who’s the editor? Follow them on Twitter. Follow the police commissioner, the mayor.
Also, did you know you can listen to the police scanner itself? Here’s an app for that. Remember though, if listening to the police scanner you’re listening to people who are trying to figure things out as well. This is information fog. What is said on the scanner is not necessarily fact. It’s first responders trying to understand the situation they’re in. Also remember that there are ethical considerations when listening to a scanner. Just because you hear someone say something doesn’t mean that you should post it to your social network of choice. There are lives on the line in situations like this.
Finally, with so many rumors and posts swirling about, remember that much information will be wrong and a significant part of the entire process is to verify what we hear. To that end, remember that in times like these, some trolls create fake social media accounts. If you really wanna get good at Twitter, Josh Stearns has a a guide on how to verify social media content. — Jihii
Related, Part 01: Thoughts on slow news from the FJP archives.
Related, Part 02: Getting it Wrong in Boston.
Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

How We Follow Breaking News

A lot is happening in Boston, just like a lot has happened in past months, including a lot of hype on the news, a lot of confusion, and the spread of quite some misinformation.

But eventually, the chase ends, the investigations close, the who, what, where, when, and how get answered, and the why gets speculated over until everyone agrees on a narrative that can help us digest the horror. The journey involves a lot of hype, and lot of (digital and analog) talk around the coffee-machine, Facebook feeds and Twitter channels. Some people end up very hurt, some people cynical, some people apathetic, some people clueless, some people motivated to help however they can.

So what can we take away from events like today in Boston? We can think about how we read about it. And in the era of everyone having a voice and a blog and the power to create content, it might help to think a little bit like a journalist.

Breaking news creates an information fog. Mistakes are made as rumors are spread. Important though is to think about how we follow and consume news, and if we’re journalists ourselves, how we report — and when we report — the latest factoid that comes across our radar. As GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram writes, Twitter shows how the news is made, and it’s not pretty — but it’s better that we see it.

Here’s our two-step process for following breaking news, keeping the drama to a minimum, and finding voices who know what they are talking about:

1. Pick a place to get a regularly updated version of the big picture.

If you don’t have cable or choose to stay online instead of on TV, you can watch CNN’s livestream here. Or, if you’re not at your computer and not in front of a TV but still want to listen in there are apps for that. For example, TuneIn Radio is available for the iPhone and iPad and gives you access to local, regional and global radio stations and broadcast network feeds. But keep in mind that they too get their stuff wrong sometimes, and if you’re watching TV (or reading the NY Post) you’re in for a lot of drama.

Examples of places to keep track of the big picture:

2. Get on Twitter for primary sources to supplement that big picture and ask your own questions about it.

It’s the place where news breaks these days and holds a ton of value in the discovery-of-information ecosystem. It’s my first stop, nearly always. But it’s also a space for misinformation to spread incredibly fast so knowing how to use it (and not abuse it) falls into the hands of us—the people on it. Think (like a journalist would) about who’s gonna have the (mostly like correct) valuable information on the situation. This morning we were following people like Reuters’ Anthony De Rosa, The Wall Street Journal’s Liz Heron and the Huffington Post’s Craig Kanalley. Even closer to the action, here’s a public list on Watertown put together by Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan.

But think: Who’s actually there? Follow news organizations for regular updates. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook too. You’ll get linked out to further resources as the events unfold without having to keep up with just one paper’s website up all day.

Google the local publications, namely The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald. Who are the reporters on the story? Who’s the editor? Follow them on Twitter. Follow the police commissioner, the mayor.

Also, did you know you can listen to the police scanner itself? Here’s an app for that. Remember though, if listening to the police scanner you’re listening to people who are trying to figure things out as well. This is information fog. What is said on the scanner is not necessarily fact. It’s first responders trying to understand the situation they’re in. Also remember that there are ethical considerations when listening to a scanner. Just because you hear someone say something doesn’t mean that you should post it to your social network of choice. There are lives on the line in situations like this.

Finally, with so many rumors and posts swirling about, remember that much information will be wrong and a significant part of the entire process is to verify what we hear. To that end, remember that in times like these, some trolls create fake social media accountsIf you really wanna get good at Twitter, Josh Stearns has a a guide on how to verify social media content. — Jihii

Related, Part 01: Thoughts on slow news from the FJP archives.

Related, Part 02: Getting it Wrong in Boston.

Image: Screenshot, Twitter post by NPR’s Steve Inskeep.

jtotheizzoe:

I’m sort of thrown off today. it’s hard to be motivated to bring you science when there’s Reality going on.
When something hits us upside the head like the Boston Marathon explosions, we can feel dizzy, disoriented … left swirling in a dust-storm of rapidly beating hearts, furrowed brows, held breath and shaking heads. That’s how I feel, anyway. I’ve been sitting here, repeatedly muttering statements that begin with “What the f…” and simultaneously cheering and cursing the power of social media to communicate painful news. I keep looking through Twitter and blogs, knowing exactly what I’ll see and don’t want to. So powerful, but so unfiltered. 
It’s not the first time in the past year that this message from Fred Rogers has been appropriate, and that’s perhaps the ultimate tragedy. But he’s right. Every photo of violence and blood in the streets of Boston that we won’t unsee is full of people running in to help. And if we have to look, that’s what we should focus on.
My thoughts are with Boston. 

FJP: Agreed. A very wonderful thought from someone who works on a very wonderful program. Our thoughts are with all those in Boston and all those who have a loved one who traveled there for the marathon. If you’re looking for someone or have information about someone, try Google Person Finder.

jtotheizzoe:

I’m sort of thrown off today. it’s hard to be motivated to bring you science when there’s Reality going on.

When something hits us upside the head like the Boston Marathon explosions, we can feel dizzy, disoriented … left swirling in a dust-storm of rapidly beating hearts, furrowed brows, held breath and shaking heads. That’s how I feel, anyway. I’ve been sitting here, repeatedly muttering statements that begin with “What the f…” and simultaneously cheering and cursing the power of social media to communicate painful news. I keep looking through Twitter and blogs, knowing exactly what I’ll see and don’t want to. So powerful, but so unfiltered. 

It’s not the first time in the past year that this message from Fred Rogers has been appropriate, and that’s perhaps the ultimate tragedy. But he’s right. Every photo of violence and blood in the streets of Boston that we won’t unsee is full of people running in to help. And if we have to look, that’s what we should focus on.

My thoughts are with Boston. 

FJP: Agreed. A very wonderful thought from someone who works on a very wonderful program. Our thoughts are with all those in Boston and all those who have a loved one who traveled there for the marathon. If you’re looking for someone or have information about someone, try Google Person Finder.

Reporting the News First is Not Most Important
As reports of today’s tragedy rapidly travel across the internet, we’re reminded once again of the importance of slow news, and how getting the facts right is far more important than getting the facts out. 
We’ve said it before and we’ll do it again: Slow down the news. Misinformation taught us that during the Arizona Shootings, during the Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act, and when scandal gets hyped.
Dan Gillmor breaks it down here and here:

We all want to know what’s going on, and the bigger the calamity the more we want to know. Nothing is going to change that, and nothing should… But the advent of 1,440 minute news cycle (should we call it the 86,400 second news cycle?), which brings with it an insatiable appetite for something new to talk about, should literally give us pause. Again and again, we’ve seen that initial assumptions can be grossly untrustworthy.
We all know that the Texas shooter wasn’t killed during his rampage, as was first reported. That’s because the story was still fresh enough, and the saturation coverage was ongoing, when it emerged that he hadn’t been shot dead by law enforcement.
But we all “know” things that were subsequently found to be untrue, in part because journalists typically don’t report outcomes with the same passion and play that they report the initial news. 

FJP: Today’s events continue to horrify us. The least we can do when we don’t know what to do is get our information right.
Image: Screenshot from Alissa Skelton’s Twitter.

Reporting the News First is Not Most Important

As reports of today’s tragedy rapidly travel across the internet, we’re reminded once again of the importance of slow news, and how getting the facts right is far more important than getting the facts out. 

We’ve said it before and we’ll do it again: Slow down the news. Misinformation taught us that during the Arizona Shootings, during the Supreme Court Ruling on Affordable Care Act, and when scandal gets hyped.

Dan Gillmor breaks it down here and here:

We all want to know what’s going on, and the bigger the calamity the more we want to know. Nothing is going to change that, and nothing should… But the advent of 1,440 minute news cycle (should we call it the 86,400 second news cycle?), which brings with it an insatiable appetite for something new to talk about, should literally give us pause. Again and again, we’ve seen that initial assumptions can be grossly untrustworthy.

We all know that the Texas shooter wasn’t killed during his rampage, as was first reported. That’s because the story was still fresh enough, and the saturation coverage was ongoing, when it emerged that he hadn’t been shot dead by law enforcement.

But we all “know” things that were subsequently found to be untrue, in part because journalists typically don’t report outcomes with the same passion and play that they report the initial news. 

FJP: Today’s events continue to horrify us. The least we can do when we don’t know what to do is get our information right.

Image: Screenshot from Alissa Skelton’s Twitter.

After thousands of polls and months of manufactured news cycles, Election Day is finally here. The horse race, however, isn’t quite over, and you should expect pundits to milk these final hours of everything they’re worth. Before precincts begin reporting at 6 p.m. (when some counties in Kentucky and Indiana close their polls), millions of antsy observers will latch onto all kinds of misinformation in hopes of gleaning the eventual outcome. In order to survive the night with your sanity intact, it helps to know what to look out for — and what to ignore.

Nate Cohn, The New Republic. What to Watch for — and Ignore — on Election Day.

Yes, it’s a stressy day, but while Twitter posts some few thousand times per minute about truth, lies, rumor and consequence, Nate Cohn goes through some electoral history to help us figure out what to keep in perspective.

In other words, keep in mind the value of slow news. As Dan Gillmor has said, “The sooner something is on Twitter after a major event, the more skeptical… or at least the more you should reserve judgement about it.”

producermatthew:

The newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur is well-known among French readers, despite having printed less than 10 issues over the past 22 years.
The newspaper, which printed its ninth issue today, publishes once every four years — on a leap day.
The paper prints 200,000 copies every four years for its subscribers. The cost of a subscription is 100 Euros for an entire century (or about 4 Euros an issue). [HuffPo]

FJP: Brilliant.

producermatthew:

The newspaper La Bougie du Sapeur is well-known among French readers, despite having printed less than 10 issues over the past 22 years.

The newspaper, which printed its ninth issue today, publishes once every four years — on a leap day.

The paper prints 200,000 copies every four years for its subscribers. The cost of a subscription is 100 Euros for an entire century (or about 4 Euros an issue). [HuffPo]

FJP: Brilliant.

Slow Food Movement, Meet Slow News Movement

“The sooner something is on Twitter after a major event, the more skeptical… or at least the more you should reserve judgement about it,” explains Dan Gillmor at the recent Personal Democracy Forum, “The things that are the most amazing, I put in the category of interesting if true. And that feels right to me.”

Run Time - 14:13.

H/T: CyberJournalist.

Searching for a Slow News Movement

Like others, we’ve been glued to our screens since news that Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona. We read, we refresh our browsers and read again.

As we followed initial reports — she’s dead, no she’s alive — we were reminded of Dan Gillmor’s 2009 call for a slow news movement in the aftermath of that year’s Fort Hood shooting.

Simply, and precisely, too much misinformation spills through the airwaves and across the Web to form real opinions. Instead, much needs to be categorized under: Interesting, if true.

Via Salon:

Rapid-fire news is about speed, and being speedy serves two main purposes for the provider. The first is gratification of the desire to be first. Humans are competitive, and in journalism newsrooms, scoops are a coin of the realm.

The second imperative is attracting an audience. Being first draws a crowd, and crowds can be turned into influence, money, or both. Witness cable news channels’ desperate hunt for “the latest” when big events are under way, even though the latest is so often the rankest garbage.

The urge to be first applies not just to those disseminating the raw information (which, remember, is often wrong) that’s the basis for breaking news. It’s also the case, for example, for the blogger who offers up the first sensible-sounding commentary that puts the “news” into perspective. The winners in the online commentary derby—which is just as competitive, though played for lower financial stakes—are the quick and deft writers who tell us what it all means. That they’re often basing their perspectives on falsehoods and inaccuracies seems to matter less than that they’re early to comment.