For people lucky enough to have power for their computers or juice in their smartphone, Twitter was an infinitely superior news source than TV during Frankenstorm. Sure, lots of information gets thrown around that isn’t accurate, but that happens on TV, too. If you were in one of the hard hit areas and had a question, you could always just turn to Twitter rather than trying to call an emergency outfit in the middle of the chaos. Reuters has an excellent breakdown of some of the great examples of how Twitter was put to good use.
Of course, as in any fast-moving situation, someone has to act like a jerk…
In this case, it was Twitter user @ComfortablySmug. He sent out several false and misleading tweets regarding the damage of the storm. Have no fear, though. Buzzfeed was on the case. Their Jack Stuef discovered that the man behind the nameless account was Shashank Tripathi, “the hedge fund investor and campaign manager for Christopher Wight, the Republican candidate to represent New York’s 12th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.” Tripathi has since resigned.
Speaking of new media, there’s this piece from WaPo that says campaign reporting just isn’t what it used to be. Reporters don’t necessarily file on deadline or write 500 words on the news of the day. They can live tweet their scoops to an audience that has already chosen to follow you on Twitter. Of course, any media outlet talking about new media these days has to get a good quote from Buzzfeed, so here’s what their McKay Coppins told WaPo. “It’s more competitive. If you are some old-school newswire reporter who, along with six other guys, used to write the entire election narrative, it stinks,” Coppins said. “But it’s a great time to be a young reporter.”
The piece also suggests that both presidential campaigns have someone designated watches over reporters’ tweets: “Reporters — some of whom have tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers — said it was clear that both camps assigned staff members to monitor and flag their tweets.”