Social media and the Boston bombings

As the semester draws to a close and because we weren’t presented with new reading material to blog about, I would like to take this last week to talk about some current events: social media in regards to the Boston bombings.

Throughout the explosion on Monday, the launch of the investigation, the manhunt and arrest, and with the current questioning and impending trial, I have found myself spending hours looking up news and information about the events online. It starts with one news article, and then links to many more as the intriguing headlines draw me in.

Perhaps the time I was locked to my computer screen the most was throughout the city lockdown and manhunt process and the timeline of events that occured. I discovered that I didn’t have to rely soley on news outlets. Citizen journalists offered an equally riveting view of the events in real time.

While paid, professional news gatherers battled it out in the streets in an effort to get the most heart-wrenching shots paired with the constant release of new stories, all while staying out of the way of law enforcement and subsequently not getting themselves killed, citizen journalists gave me an even more “real” look at what was happening.

I got to see the events unfold not from the point of view of a journalist, but from the point of view of the people the events were directly affecting. The tweets and statuses that accompanied photographs, while brief, offered an emotional glance into the lives of the residents in lockdown.

Instead of having to seek out, interview, and report on a story, citizen journalists are right there in the middle of it – reporting the story as it happens from a true standpoint to an enthralled audience. In the age of social media, journalists have some competition.

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