Media Blog

Old Media Meets New: Iran, Michael Jackson

Renay San Miguel on how old media and new competed with and complemented one another on two big stories this month:

… it wasn’t CNN, NBC or the Los Angeles Times that broke the story of Jackson’s death. Getting it first, right and fast was TMZ.com, Harvey Levin’s celebrity/entertainment Web site. Sure, the cable networks kept citing TMZ as the source of the Jackson story, but wouldn’t say it was an “official” death until the L.A. coroner’s office confirmed it; that included CNN, which like TMZ is owned by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX). Jeez, if you can’t trust your own family …

The TMZ scoop has earned the Web site traditional media reappraisal — and the by-now-traditional huge helping of envy. An L.A. Times Comments Blog entry headlined “How Would We Have Reacted if TMZ Had Been Wrong About Michael Jackson’s Death?” was, I guess, alternative history serving as analysis. How would we have reacted if Woodward and Bernstein hadn’t followed the money? Discuss.

San Miguel offers up OneStopNews, a Ryerson University project, as a hybrid combining the strengths of old-fashioned journalism and new-media immediacy:

OneStopNews would be transparent about the origins and verification of the information and would work to confirm the reports via a resource list made up of on-the-ground journalists plus pre-verified bloggers and tweeters. That resource list would be maintained as an internal wiki within the newsroom. The company would also issue breaking news alerts on those social networks early and often, to make sure their reports were the ones being “retweeted.”

As the story progresses, video reports from the company’s professional journalists start appearing on the Web site. Timelines are developed, with the level of verification of reports color-coded. User-generated content would be used and parsed via outlets like the NewsTrust blog aggregator. Web site visitors wanting information on the breaking story would also see threaded discussion boards, interactive maps and a filtered Twitter feed — a trained, experienced company journalist providing the filtering, of course, to avoid the torrent of unchecked information like that seen in the early stages of the Iran protests.

I wonder if readers are willing to do as much work as this model assumes.

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