Covering News in Real-Time with Twitter is "Risky Territory," Prof. Bob Steele '69 Tells ABC

Covering News in Real-Time with Twitter is "Risky Territory," Prof. Bob Steele '69 Tells ABC

September 13, 2008

Bob Steele MarkerBoard.jpgSeptember 13, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - "A Colorado newspaper's decision to live blog the funeral of a 3-year-old boy with Twitter has prompted a flurry of criticism from the local media, bloggers and media ethicists" reports an ABC News story which includes analysis from a DePauw University professor. "Now, with digital technology, we have all these tools and methods -- various forms of blogs, RSS feeds, Twitter and other forms of text communication," says Bob Steele, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism. "And there is a tendency and a danger to run headlong into the arena of news events with these new tools. And that headlong rush, whether it's well-intended or skewed by business interests, can be disastrous."

Dr. Steele, a 1969 DePauw graduate, also serves as as Nelson Poynter Scholar for Journalism Values at the Poynter Institute. The ABC story looks at the decision by the Rocky Mountain News to provide real-time updates from the funeral of Marten Kudlis via its Web site.

Steele says the use of new tools such as a micro-blogging service to deliver news can be "risky territory" and asks, "Was there a legitimate journalistic purpose served in the telling of the story?" Steele also notes, "It's an era -- this digital era -- when many abc logo.jpgjournalists are experimenting, often in real time, and the consequences can be either remarkable or disastrous."

Access the complete story at ABC

Bob Steele was quoted in a Tuesday Chicago Tribune article which examined how a six-year-old news story contributed to a huge drop in the share price of United Airlines.

Source: ABC