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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Trend: Twitter and Journalism

Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, writes at Politico:
A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the ways social media is reshaping communications. Twitter has been especially important, and we saw lots of stories this past year about real-time news reporting ahead of the professional media (as in the Boston Marathon bombing) or tweets as ways to get information about things happening in places like Syria or Egypt. But 2013 was also the year in which another, related trend really came into its own, namely, the use of social media and Twitter/Facebook in particular for politicians and political leaders to circumvent traditional media and communicate with the public directly. Rather than press conferences and press releases, we get tweets and website releases that allow political leaders to control their messages and cut out the media. Indeed, media end up reporting what was put out on the web. This is not necessarily a good development, as it shrinks and possibly eliminates the role of media in keeping politicians honest and on their toes. In short, 2013 was the year politicians began paying more attention to their Twitter accounts than to their press conferences.