Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 13, 2024

Social media fosters alternative journalism

By Rian Dawson | November 1, 2012

Citizens are becoming journalists. Social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have played a role in modernizing and bringing immediacy to already immediate news channels by allowing people to post in real time  as things happen from anywhere as long as someone has a smartphone handy.

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast earlier this week, the people in its path provided their own news coverage.

While media outlets supplied traditional reporting utilizing reporters and camera crews in the field, citizen journalism played a large role in Sandy-coverage. Media outlets like Bloomberg Television, CNN and used tweets and Instagram photos to provide moment-to-moment coverage of the damage the “Frakenstorm” wrought as it tore through New York, New Jersey and elsewhere in the U.S.

These social media platforms also provided a point of contact for people to check in with their loved ones in the areas hardest hit. While many remain without power, smartphones provided internet access.

Even in New York City, media outlets like Gawker, whose servers are down because of the storm, have turned to Twitter to keep their readers updated.

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