All of the social media websites that allow anyone and everyone to report their thoughts and feelings have slowly caused these websites to lose credibility. A tweet at a time can gain a national following in minutes, which will eventually be picked up by the local newspaper.
A crime reporter out of Pennsylvania gained national prominence for her coverage on former Penn State’s football coach Jerry Sandusky for his child sex abuse scandal. She was widely followed because of reporting she did through Twitter. More than 14,000 people follow her.
With social media on the rise, everyone is always interested in getting the most recent news or delivering it. Journalism is such a competitive field that when someone receives vital information they want to report it. Unfortunately, CBSSports.com recently re-tweeted incorrectly that Joe Paterno had died. CBS was relying on a student website that in turn relied on unnamed sources. When reporting, news stations need to be sure everything is verified.
Another problem that arises is that all Twitter and Facebook users begin to think they’re a journalist. It’s difficult to believe anything these days with each reporter chasing every rumor they read about online. It’s unfortunate because journalist are losing credibility more often than usual because they’re addicted to trying to be first.
When expectations to be first replace the need to be accurate, it causes reporters to act on impulse and not use complete common sense. CBS is now a competing news source for sports in today’s world so when they come upon a breaking news story, they jump on it. Unfortunately, this time CBS didn’t do enough research and decided to take the chances of reporting the alleged story after hearing it from an unreliable source. When consumers receive false information from their distributer it is hard for them to trust them as a reliable source again.