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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

The changing nature of news aggregation

If you've been watching the situation unravelling in Iran you'll probably be aware of the almost complete silencing of journalists in the mainstream media. This has seen the mainstream channels turning to the social channels to aggregate and report the news. Both the BBC and Sky are streaming, Youtube, Twitter and Flickr straight onto their site as well as offering opportunities for individuals to upload their videos directly to their sites.

Twitter has been such an essential part of the information flow out of the country that they and their IT vendor NTT took the unprecedented step on Monday of putting off essential site maintenance for a day to ensure that the channel remained open for Iranians reporting on the ground as their blog outlined. Interestingly it emerged today that it was the US state department's intervention that led to the suspension.

What this starts to reveal is the maturing role of citizen journalism and the mainstream media's willingness to use it as a major contributory source within their own reporting. It may lack quality, it may need far greater verification, but in terms of speed and it's ability to reveal the true picture there has yet to be a more effective medium for information flow.

Crispin Heath
Head of Digital

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