How do you define “news?” What’s newsworthy … what’s not?
For example, why does a Twitter outage become the lead story on CNN.com; yet Gmail goes down, and it’s barely a blip on mainstream media’s radar? I know Twitter is the exciting, intriguing new service, but is a “fail whale” more newsworthy that the outage of service that powers business communication? (Hat tip to Sarah Evans for initiating the conversation on Twitter earlier this afternoon).
I’ve been mulling over this subject for a few days now. Watching the Ted Kennedy coverage this weekend got the wheels spinning. Politics aside, it was amazing to see how many reporters noted that Sen. Kennedy was voted the Democratic legislator Republicans would most like to work with. That absolutely contradicts how Sen. Kennedy was portrayed while living. He was the poster child for ultra-liberal partisanship — a caricature perpetuated by the media until the day he died. Literally. After his passing, Kennedy somehow morphed into a bipartisan, willing-to-compromise senator. When he was alive and working with the Left and the Right, the fact that he struck bipartisan deals wasn’t newsworthy, yet that same piece of information was worth sharing after he died? Doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me.
Which takes me back to my original question: What’s news? How is social media and citizen journalism changing what we consider newsworthy? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
Photo credit: Hitchster