Digital and social media play an important role during breaking news stories that captivate the nation’s attention such as the tragic shooting Friday at a Colorado movie theater. This can mean providing real time updates like Reddit users did or user generated videos from the scene, such as the cell phone video uploaded to YouTube embedded below.
Unfortunately, you also wind up with PR blunders like this one:
The trivial uses of social media and digital media (cat videos anyone?) and the downsides (privacy concerns, addicting qualities, altering our brains and cognitive abilities) of the technologies are all too often cited as arguments against the worth and value of social and digital media. But as evidenced by news organizations’ sourcing of tweets from victims and theater-goers at the scene and the clearer (albeit chilling and bloody) picture of what was transpiring enabled by these technologies, there should be no denying the merits of social and digital media tools for reporting news during times of tragic events.