I contribute a weekly column to the Platte County Landmark under the “Rambling Moron” name. It’s a great Northland Newspaper and well worth a subscription. The following is an copy of my article which appeared in the 5/11/12 edition – printed with permission.
Believe me, I recognize that there is some level of irony of this commentary about Twitter occurring in a newspaper. Be that as it may, I continue to be stunned at the pace of news that comes out over Twitter.
The death of former San Diego Chargers player Junior Seau broke at approximately 1 p.m. over Twitter on May 2. The guerilla news gathering agency, TMZ.com, reported it first and reported what proved to be an accurate summation of the nature of his death, a suicide by gunshot wound to the chest.
It took ESPN, the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader In Sports,” over 75 minutes to break into programming to announce that the member of the 1994 Super Bowl tea was dead. To their credit, CNN and Fox News both had the news within about 30 minutes.
Even the Kansas City Star used its @KCStar Twitter to “confirm” the news, although you won’t read about it in their morning edition until the next day.
Twitter is not just the future, it is the present. It is the omnipresent. Within seconds, news of the Seau suicide had broken on Twitter, gone across the globe and already turned to analysis which focused on mental illness among former NFL players.
Thinking back through the haze of my few years at journalism school, I remember our professors saying that news stories always needed the “Five W’s” Who; What; Where; When and Why. It seems like new-age journalism is shaking out to have Twitter provide the Who; What and Where aspect of news. I can’t think of a story in the past year that hasn’t broken on Twitter first. In this important election year, entire candidacies have been destroyed on Twitter.
Television and radio will add the when and the why as they can provide pictures, context and substance. But you will no longer tune into a media outlet to learn news. You’ll tune in only to learn why.
As for newspapers? Well, newspapers can add an important 6th “W” – that of “I Wonder how this will affect me.”
In fact, one could say that you can get all the news you ever need just through Twitter and newspapers. You can completely save a step and stop watching CNN and ESPN. That is, of course, unless you like watching the same six stories over and over and over again waiting for new news to break.
Do yourself a favor, get yourself a Twitter account and a subscription to the Platte County Landmark and know that you’ll always know everything you need before anyone you want.
(Chris Kamler is active on Twitter, where he is known as @TheFakeNed. He also hosts “The Kansas City Baseball Vault” on ESPN 1510 AM Thursdays at 6 p.m. Reach him through his web site, ramblingmorons.com)