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Murder, Journalism, and the Twitterverse

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | about a year and a half ago

The Media 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Bullard writes that one of the most interesting things about the case of Oscar Pistorius, the disabled Olympian who killed his model girlfriend on the morning of Valentine's day, is the amount of social media activity it has spawned and how Twitter is offering a frighteningly accurate real time measure of public opinion on the case. "Early on Thursday morning there was enormous sympathy for Pistorius as the story of the "accidental" shooting was reported," writes Bullard. "That evaporated within a few hours as the police announced that they believed they were looking at a murder case." By Monday, even if there had been insufficient evidence to pin a murder charge on Pistorius, the Twitterverse had worked itself into a frenzy of hatred with the mob baying for blood. "Bizarrely, the investigation into the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp became a sort of grotesque social media reality show with everyone invited to play. The Twitterverse was never short of opinion, most of it uninformed and much of it swayed by the latest revelation, whether confirmed or not." The story also points to a new relationship between online and print journalism that may offer a glimpse of the future. Journalists at the bail hearing are able to release short bulletins via Twitter while more established news sources like newspapers follow up with more detailed analysis. "It seems an ideal symbiotic relationship and undoubtedly sets the agenda for news reporting in the future; gobbets of need to know stuff in real time all within 140 characters followed by the expanded story on a website and in a newspaper.""

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