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Citizen journalism – help, hindrance or hindsight?

by on 2 Jun, 2010

As today’s tragic events in Cumbria unfolded, in “real time”, I was distracted by the role of the bystanders and onlookers. There was the inevitable mis-reporting of what had happened (and when and how), but we’re used to that now. The actual “facts” soon get established by the proper media channels.  See how The Times covered the breaking news

What really caught my attention was the Twitter traffic, literally. Apparently the number plate and make of the car driven by the fugitive was tweeted, and then of course the chase was really on. Personally, I’d really like to know the part that this played in the eventual outcome. Or should that be possible outcomes?

Because if I was a fugitive on the run, I’d get very sweaty at the thought that anyone armed with a mobile could lead to my prompt apprehension and capture. Likewise, and this is what really makes me pause for thought, if I could be easily mistaken for the said fugitive – similar appearance, car, clothing, whatever –  I may start to feel very, very exposed and vulnerable.

I just hope the authorities have a process for filtering out the real intelligence from the dross. Of course, past  experience does not give me a lot of confidence in this area, I have to admit.

So if you’re a writer, reporter or journalist, please check out our news writing and digital media courses. And please, always make sure you have a reliable source.

One Comment
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