Is Twitter good or bad for political journalism?
The rise of social media tools such as blogs and Twitter have changed the political landscape, in part by speeding up the news cycle and broadening the range of sources that are available. But are these developments good or bad for the practice of political journalism?
Originally posted on Gigaom:
With the Republican National Convention getting underway in Florida this week, the volume of political coverage is likely to explode, and therefore so is the volume of posts to Twitter and other social networks — something that was much more of a niche phenomenon during the last election campaign in 2008. While posting to Twitter was commonplace on the various candidate buses and at political events at that time, a political reporter for BuzzFeed says “now Twitter is the bus.” As a recent post at Politico noted, the hyper-connected and real-time nature of the political cycle now means that stories can emerge and get circulated almost everywhere with lightning speed, and that has changed the nature of the game. But is it good or bad for journalism?
The Politico piece, about an incident on Friday involving presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, calls it the “21-minute news cycle.” As Dylan Byers describes it, Romney made a comment at a campaign stop in Michigan about how no one had ever asked him for his birth certificate — a crack that appeared to refer to the controversial “birther” debate over where President Barack Obama was born. Within a matter of seconds, a reporter attending the event had posted the remark to Twitter, where it was then retweeted hundreds of times over the next few minutes (according to data Politico got from the Twitter-analytics service Topsy).