A very thoughtful insight from Charlie Beckett,head of POLIS at LSE.
He writes that as various outlets including Sky, the Guardian and most notoriously, the Daily Mail launched into the ‘guilty’ narrative before they realised that she had been found guilty of slander, but cleared of the much more serious murder charge,what does this tell us about the current state of journalism and particularly twitter
It confirms the fact that Twitter is a brilliant device for instant revelations, but that a Tweet is only as good as the Tweeter. In this case most of the micro-bloggers who falsely announced Knox’s guilt were miles away from the actual story and were simply re-tweeting the mistakes made by the professional journalists camped out in the medieval Umbrian town where the case was actually happening. The social media savvy hacks in Perugia were adding to the confusion with the same error in 140 characters. Luckily, Twitter also sorts these things out pretty quickly and within minutes the (revised) truth was out.
But this is the crux and this is what the profession has to operate under
The pressure to be instantly live is intense. Scoops are now measured in micro-seconds as editors seek desperately to become the public’s ‘go to’ channel or platform for instant history. If you are a second behind the competition then Google will have sent the searchers to a rival’s website.