How to follow current events

by on June 15, 2009 at 10:44 am in Current Affairs, Weblogs | Permalink

On Iran, Andrew Sullivan > Σ MSM. 

Megan McArdle offers some reasons why.  I would add that MSM is unwilling to rely much on information aggregators such as Twitter and they are reluctant to report things in the uncertain, hanging narrative kind of way that blogs (sometimes) excel at.  MSM needs the definitive-sounding soundbites for people who are tuned in for only a few minutes and don't come back or don't come back with any memory of what was said before.

We're seeing a revolution in coverage of current events right before our very eyes.

Dan June 15, 2009 at 12:03 pm

The big reason why is because newspapers and magazines are not built to be real-time information processors. They process news in batches. Reporters write copy -> editors edit -> rinse/repeat -> more editing/copy editing -> layout -> final chance to kill a piece -> print -> distribute. If something new happens during that batch process, the copy used to be killed, and you’d start over with new copy. It’s actually very efficient when you are trying to publish in certain time intervals, because you can tailor the length of the copy to suit the needs of the other steps. (That’s why magazine articles are typically longer than their newspaper counterparts, and why the Science Times only comes out once a week.)

But as information moves faster and faster over the Internet, batch processing is too slow. You need to set your time interval to be minutes, not days or even hours, and the batch process flow can’t even handle 140 characters that quickly.

Ted Craig June 15, 2009 at 3:50 pm

I’d hardly call Twitter a reliable information aggregator. A majority of posts are from a minority of users.

Tim June 15, 2009 at 4:25 pm

CNN did a smashingly good job covering Tiananmen and the Gulf War. Now we have THREE large cable networks, and we are LESS informed. I agree with Megan that this is a consequence of them cutting their news budgets.

It’s amazing watching CNN’s official stories and how they are so pathetic compared to the various YouTubes of battles on the streets.

Kudos to the Brits for showing us how it should be done.

Mehdi June 15, 2009 at 6:31 pm
Borealis June 16, 2009 at 12:03 am

But if Sarah Palin is ever part of the story, Andrew Sullivan will find a reason to involve her daughters into the story…..

Nick June 17, 2009 at 7:38 am

This post paints the MSM news outlets as cautious entities unwilling to report something until it is triple-checked and comes from a trustworthy source. Looking over the last eight years, I wonder whether that characterization of the MSM is at all accurate.

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