A cocktail of facts

There is a debate about whether Twitter and blogs are journalism.

Fred Wilson suggests that the discipline of journalism is an outdated concept, supplanted by conversation ... "a world of conversation." Based on that Twitter, Blogs, MySpace are journalism.

I do learn things on Twitter that I consider to be news. A lot is not.

I do learn things from blogs that I consider to be news. A lot is not.

A lot is not journalism in newspapers; classified ads, for instance. The cynical might suggest that a lot of editorial content in newspapers and on newscasts doesn't involve journalism in the gathering and reporting of news, either. That would be true.

You can't define journalism by platform. While mostly it's a social network, users did use Facebook as a news source during the Viriginia Tech murders.

I do see on Twitter headline type information and pointers to other information that are real news. It's 140 character message limit does give new meaning to the concept of a "tight story."

Tony Hung writes in Twittering Vs. Blogging: What Constitutes Journalism?:

Twittering ought to be no more castigated for its triviality than blogging because people cannot make the distinction between the message and the medium.
Twittering (and other forms of ambient broadcasting) are not the place or forum for extended and well thought out ideas, assertions, and in depth reporting, that’s true. But, on the other hand, its a great mechanism for reporting headlines — things that are happening in the moment, and since you can do it with text messaging you don’t even need to be at a keyboard to make it happen.

I love that phrase "ambient broadcasting." It is a good description of often-hard-to-explain Twitter.

Journalism, and news, also is not a world of conversation; the gathering and reporting still have to occur. News can include a conversation or there can be conversations around news. Conversation and participation may enrich, not supplant the experience of getting news.

John Heilemann, national affairs editor for Wired, says in Wilson's post that textbook journalism, twitter, blogs and social media are all part of a "more complex info ecosystem."

An information cocktail comes to mind, too; it is Saturday. Research, substance, spirits ... all inviting conversation.

You're invited to send me some news on Twitter.


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