Lecture Response on Accuracy in Social Media

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Great lecture this week!  I thought a lecture on “accuracy” could go in a lot of directions… And I really liked the way this one decided to go down.  Twitter is my favorite social media platform and the balance of speed of journalism versus the desire to be accurate is definitely something that interests me.  Also, as a side benefit, I am now extremely excited to check out TweetDeck!

At the beginning of the lecture, Justin (@newsleader) pointed out the fact that social media has increased the need to fact check as opposed to decreasing the need as some have led us to believe.  I definitely agree with this and think the most difficult part about being a journalist now must lie in that fact checking and being conscious of the speed with which you release a story.  In fact, that was the first question this week for the lecture: how do you reconcile accuracy with speed and it couldn’t be a more interesting one.   As recent as 10 years ago, I would imagine many news organizations had the opportunity to wait as long as 12 hours before deciding whether or not to publish a story.  Today, that same story is dead 12 hours later!  There must be a fascinating dilemma that occurs very often in journalism and I certainly do not envy those that have to make it.  Even deciding to wait to add a picture so that a story can be read by more people must be tough to decide.  Personally, I think truth and accuracy needs to come first in reporting based journalism even if it means waiting a slight bit longer for that story.  However, I also imagine that I am in the minority in thinking this as the general public wants the story as soon as possible.  But if we publish a false story, how do we fix it?

This was the second question asked in the lecture, and personally, I am against the removal of a false story.  As an organization, I would feel that we are only as good as our word and taking something back is worse than making corrective action.  So, if we send out a tweet that is later proven to be incorrect, we cannot remove it.  All we can do is respond to our own Tweet with a corrective message, or publish a correction later.  Removing the tweet is the dishonest “way out” in my opinion.

Tools were also discussed for fact checking and including some things that I am really eager to try out on my own.  I have never used TweetDeck before and seeing the way that one can customize a search has me really excited to try it out.  Further, I have never done a reverse image search, despite the fact that I have heard of them before.  I look forward to exploring this through both Google and TinEye (discussed in the lecture).  Overall, an interesting lecture including many of the topics I was hoping would be discussed.  Thanks!

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