Media 140 – The future of realtime news

The other day i trundled along to the Media 140 event down by London’s Southbank. Even though i could only stay for a couple of hours, it was a great couple of hours. Accompanied by a schmorgaz board of Twitterati and a general who’s who of the industry, i listened intently to what the future may hold as Pat Kane (@thepayethic) made his keynote presentation.

I tapped away furiously, trying to capture everything so i could share it on here. So for your reading pleasure, i give you (more or less) the words spoken by Pat Kane. I’ll probably chip in and ruin parts of it, but hopefully you’ll get the general gist of it all.


There is an alternative  future of journalism and it’s Dick Tracy – With his communications watch, a real-time communications device putting Dick in the middle of the action heh heh the 10 year old in my can’t help it.

Web 2.0 and social media lets you PLAY at being a journalist.

I think this a key point here. Yes social media lets you incorporate aspects of being a journalist into your everyday online life, but for us there’s no consequence in getting things too wrong or being inaccurate. We don’t need to check our sources, Hell some people don’t even check their spelling.

Examples to show how everyday the practice of journalism has become with the growth of social media. Producing news on the street corner has become biennial. Tools that form easy group organisation.

It was here that Pat told us about taking a picture of riot police running in full gear through a park, obviously training for the G20 conference. Although he took a picture and uploaded it to Twitpic, he was scared to be a journalist. There was still the fear there of actually taking a photo of the police, just in case they confronted him and confiscated his device.

Twitter helps journalists with beat reporting  – no not the kind with someone kickin’ it old skool with a beat-boxer behind them while they report I mean it lets them be almost in the street all the time.  With Twitter’s advance search with geo location – it’s like being on the front line and the geo map of area highlights points of interest.

There are obvious overlaps – canaries down a coal mine – It’s the communities of users deciding what is news worthy – journalists have their ears to twitter-sphere in order to find out what has the potential to become news.

Real time content – audio, video, pictures, even to the professionals, the amateur stuff can indicate to them what they should be photographing and filming/how to frame etc.

Twitter helps trace sources and interviewees. It’s inherently social, giving journalists new options to follow up news and enriching the classical journalistic process.

Twitter can also help journalists with public sourcing of news and adding opinions and eye-witness accounts to the story – “can you help?”

There’s the theory that Twitter is lowering the quality of journalism – “the fear journalism being degraded by Twitter”. This idea is being refuted with examples of Twitter pointing people to follow up reading for a story, highlighting more sources, more journals, more back ground information and research papers etc.

Expertise archive – It’s a catalogue of knowledge. What’s important knowledge at a particular time.

BUT….who verifies this information? The news agency? New media? Traditional media?  Experts? This can lead us towards the destruction of meta-narratives  and to the idea that all truth is local. There are people creating pockets of truth in their areas. It’s an extremely interesting environment for news brands. Who can we trust with all this info? Commercial thrive-al strategies – Building a sense of value in these flows.

What’s beyond 140?  140 characters is a very restrictive structure for real time reporting. What’s next?

Does less journalists = Better journalism?

Use what is ubiquitous to drive people to what is scarce. Music industry solution to this, is making the live music the object, the thing that’s scarce, along with special gifts for the audience etc.

Authorities in traditional news can be of added value, but how to commoditise that?

Maybe have Mon-Fri web news but on the weekend, when people have time to sit down with something, it’s there you can deliver something special to them, something of real quality content.

The challenge of social media is to create less churnalism and more real journalism.

Some really interesting points from Pat about what Twitter and social media has done not only to journalism, but all those who use it really. I’ll probably follow this up with more thoughts at a later point.


~ by Neil on May 21, 2009.

One Response to “Media 140 – The future of realtime news”

  1. […] Are Social at #media140 by we are social Media 140 – The future of real-time news from you talking to me-dia? Adam Tinworth’s round-ups Kevin Anderson’s posts on […]

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