Virginia Tech tragedy and user generated content

By Beth Fichtel, Vice President, Global Central Media Team, N.Y.

The recent USA Today article by Robert Bianco, “Wall-to-wall coverage reflects monumental scale, sadness” takes a fascinating look at how the coverage unfolded during the Virginia Tech tragedy.

This is a clear reminder of how we are now getting our news through new media – blogs, text messaging, mobile phones, broadcasting networks, social networking and user-generated content.

I thought it was especially interesting how CNN called the student who sent cell phone footage to the broadcasting giant an “I-Reporter”. It will be interesting to see how this trend affects future news stories and if user-generated content will be our number one way of receiving breaking news. Most importantly, I couldn’t agree more with the reporter’s finial thoughts in the article.

3 Comments
  • Jamie

    April 23, 2007 at 3:04 pm Reply

    The “I-Reporter” is an interesting observation. Today there was a New York Times article on Wikipedia and how it was a played a large role in delivering news and updates during this tragedy. Wikipedia, a site that anyone can contribute to or edit, is constantly under fire for unreliable content. During a sensitive time like the Virginia Tech tragedies, where emotions are high, there is a chance a mistake may be made. I also wonder if people will go to new media for breaking news as opposed to the traditional news outlets, regardless of reliability. And as PR people, how will we need to adjust?

  • Suzanne

    April 23, 2007 at 3:37 pm Reply

    In relation to this news, I saw some rumblings about how the TV world covered the crisis new. Advertising Age critiqued how the major broadcasters handled their TV coverage and branding. In the article entitled, “News Flash: Anything This Graphic Should Never Have a Logo,” Simon Dumenco took the major TV channels to task for their lack of taste and even included the word “grotesque” in his subhead. Full article.
    If the public feels hounded by TV, then the Internet becomes a heaven from the dramatization of news. People can logo onto sites varying from their local newspaper to Wikipedia. Yes, they need to review their sources, but have more control over what they have to look at and what they read. Broadcasters need to make sure they aren’t doing more to drive viewers away for good.

  • nishith

    August 29, 2008 at 8:39 pm Reply

    There is so much we don’t yet know about the Virginia Tech massacre, so much that keeps changing, so much to be angry about, and to be terribly sad about, that catching up, let alone opining, seems simply inappropiate.
    ———————–
    Nishith

    Virginia Alcohol Addiction Treatment

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