When the brother of the Connecticut killer, Ryan Lanza, first heard about the massacre that had taken place he took to facebook to write “IT WASN’T ME I WAS AT WORK IT WASN’T ME.”
Apparently the Police had initially mistaken the identity of the killer and were on Ryan’s trail.
Its interesting to note that despite the horror of that moment, this young mans instinct was to announce his innocence to the world via facebook.
It demonstrates once again that in an ever changing media environment, everyone now feels that they have the outlet and the agency to get their message out, that we are all our own niche media.
But the other thing that happened on social media when this tragedy broke was that misinformation was quickly spread – and many innocent people with the name Adam Lanza or Ryan Lanza were bombarded with accusations and abuse.
Other fabricated items that have appeared on social media include a false suicide note allegedly written by one of the students who was trapped during the shooting, and the false news that the Lanza father had also died.
Yes, we know that the mainstream media market is fragmenting and that this has some exciting potentials.
But in a case like this the rigor that the ‘traditional’ media can bring to journalism – the fact checking, the filters of editors, the use of trusted sources – can become more vital than ever.
I agree with Laurie Oakes’ view that the changes in the media landscape as it intersects with social media ‘should galvanise journalists to focus on our core business: more facts, more storytelling, less conjecture, less opinion.’
But with revenue streams drying up to more savvy online operatives, the challenge is how is media going to pay for these vital traditional skills in order to remain ahead of the online curve?