Investigative Reporting on Twitter

Monday, April 26, 2010

Investigative reporting is changing because of the internet, but it is not going away.

Infact an article in the Taipei Times argues that the internet is becoming one of the best sources for information beneficial to investigative reporters. Many reporters feel that the best way to get information is to announce that there is an investigation going on. What better way to do this than to post it on twitter

"I wasn't convinced about Twitter at first, but it quickly turned out to be quite useful for investigating," the Guardian's Paul Lewis says. "Twitter is not just a Web site and not micro-blogging, it is entirely different medium - like e-mail, fax or even newspapers. The way in which information travels on Twitter - the shape of it - is different to anything that we've previously known."

These journalists feel that a great way for them to get the information they need is to tell the Twitter world that they are investigating a subject and let the information role in. They are also using it to bounce ideas off each other and receive ideas from their followers.

They also understand that Twitter cannot just be the end all solution for them getting stories. The fact that anybody can create an account on Twitter and can say anything bothers them so they have developed "Help Me Investigate," which is a crowdsourcing project that allows them to establish a known and trusted audience.

This does not mean that they are edging away from Twitter, though. When it is all said and done with all of the reporters spoken to feel Twitter is a great way to help with investigative reporting.


Grant Rodgers April 28, 2010 at 7:24 AM  

While I understand that Twitter certainly could be a good medium for investigation, I would still be very wary of any information I obtained from tweets. However, with the application you described, I think that this idea has a little more credibility. Unfortunately, of the people I follow, I notice that they simply don't use Twitter in a way that is effective to gather news.

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