Nowadays where are you most likely to hear breaking news? For me it’s twitter. Good news travels fast, but bad news travels even faster and today pretty much all my breaking news comes in through my twitter feed. When I think of major events of the last year or two from the Boston bombings to even tracking major natural disasters and freak weather like Hurricane Sandy, when I want to see what is going on in real time, I go to twitter. The newsrooms are already struggling to keep up and often shaky, amateur video footage ripped from twitter features in the main primetime bulletins. I must say as a journalist < biased disclaimer> the news outlets still provide a valuable service in providing in-depth and much needed analysis, but this is immediacy I am talking about here.
So it’s probably a no-brainer that twitter looks like it might be moving into news. Why? Well reports have emerged in The Verge that Twitter is finalizing a deal to bring on NBC News chief digital officer Vivian Schiller as its new head of news, Added to this is the launch of Event Parrot, an account devoted to sending you breaking news from around the world via direct message. At the time of writing, Event Parrot just had one lonely tweet and almost 34,000 followers. It promises ‘Follow me to receive direct messages that help you keep up with what’s happening in the world.’
So it remains to be seen what this service will do. While Twitter has a valuable role to play in breaking news, at the moment the content is haphazard, unreliable, often just a series of repetitive retweets and spam like commentary so there would seem to be huge opportunities to perhaps streamline or be able to filter comments and receive a higher quality of commentary. This a model which will evolve and I think there is a lot of potential here – let’s just say watch this space!