Breaking news, Twitter style

May 6, 2008

twitter.pngNews of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online service Twitter on Tuesday, in a preview of what’s to come in the realm of breaking news and citizen journalism. Twitter is a so-called microblogging site that allows users to send and receive short messages.

At about 1:37 pm, software developer Dave Winer asked the Twitterverse: “Explosion in Falls Church, VA?” (Perhaps not coincidentally, Winer is a well-known blogger and podcasting evangelist). A flurry of posts, or “tweets,” followed, as users reported rumbles as far away as Alexandria.

The mainstream media entered the fray at 2:33 pm, with radio station WTOP reporting ground rumblings throughout Northern Virginia, citing a possible earthquake. Officials also told the radio station that the rumblings were part of construction blasts at nearby Ft. Belvoir, which had been scheduled for later in the afternoon as part of a new building for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Twitter users continued to pile on, pointing out data from the Maryland Geological Survey and adding their own commentary. Twitterer DataG wrote: “After the ‘Falls Church explosion’ event that was covered on Twitter, I saw the value in having a Twitter account at-the-ready.”

By 2:56 pm — nearly 90 minutes after Winer’s initial alert — WTOP had the official word from the U.S. Geological Survey: A not-exactly-massive 1.8 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Annandale, VA.

The “Falls Church Incident” was earthshaking only in the most literal sense, but it is an interesting proof of concept that news can be broken on Twitter. Reuters is looking at ways to use Twitter in the newsroom, although our feed is currently under renovation.

9 comments

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[...] Reuters’ blog reports on the latest Twitter newsmob. It reminds me of the first minutes after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, when the WELL community was ahead of the other media — at least insofar as looking after ourselves: News of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online service Twitter on Tuesday, in a preview of what’s to come in the realm of breaking news and citizen journalism. Twitter is a so-called microblogging site that allows users to send and receive short messages. [...]

Posted by Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Twitter journalism evolves forward during Virginia quake | Report as abusive

[...] Reuters was watching [...]

Posted by Scripting News for 5/6/2008 « Scripting News Annex | Report as abusive

[...] Reuters: News of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online service Twitter on Tuesday, in a preview of what’s to come in the realm of breaking news and citizen journalism. Twitter is a so-called microblogging site that allows users to send and receive short messages. [...]

Posted by AustinWalne » Breaking News via Twitter | Report as abusive

You don’t need a feed so much as an intern with a Twitter account and a grasp of how to use some basic tools, not just Google.

Posted by @Stephen | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Breaking news, Twitter style | Blogs | Reuters.com By 2:56 pm — nearly 90 minutes after Winer’s initial alert — WTOP had the official word from the U.S. Geological Survey: A not-exactly-massive 1.8 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Annandale, VA. [...]

Posted by By 2:56 pm — nearly 90 minutes after Winer’s initial alert |old news-new new « CTOWatch | Report as abusive

[...] Twitter will one day do the job of Reuters. Looks like we are getting closer to that possibility. Adam Pasick, not surprisingly on Reuter blog,  is using this little incident to illustrate how Twitter is now the starting point for lot of [...]

Posted by Brij’s One More Idea » Breaking news using Twitter. From Reuters to Reuwitters. | Report as abusive

Doesn’t anyone seem to care that the earliest reports on Twitter were WRONG? Cripes, does citizen journalism mean accuracy doesn’t matter anymore?

Posted by Tom Jeffs | Report as abusive

[...] relato da Reuters, o tremor levou quase uma hora para sair do Twitter e chegar ao [...]

Posted by Mais um tremor e, de novo, o microblog dá o furo « Webmanário | Report as abusive

[...] News or Broken News? This silly Reuters article suggests that a recent Twitter episode suggests that Twitter has  attained some [...]

Posted by Breaking News or Broken News? « Joe Duck | Report as abusive

[...] for quite some time, but it’s always nice when a story comes out to reiterate my view. This article was just released around Twitter and how it is impacting the reporting of news. The first [...]

Posted by The Death of the Middleman « Mahargdom | Report as abusive

So what now, twitter is like Nostradamus? :) People come on , try to catch any news on twitter for real.

Posted by LiveCrunch | Report as abusive

[...] Breaking news, Twitter style (tags: Twitter) [...]

Posted by Maoxian » links for 2008-05-07 | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Breaking news, Twitter style | Blogs | Reuters.com Well I am happy to have been part of this twitter news. (tags: twitter news journalism microblogging) [...]

Posted by links for 2008-05-07 « Romulo Lopez Cordero | Report as abusive

The true power of Twitter

Posted by Spuds | Report as abusive

[...] Reports of yesterday’s small-scale earthquake near Washington, DC, first appeared on Twitter, Reuters reports. “At about 1:37 pm, software developer Dave Winer asked the Twitterverse: ‘Explosion in Falls Church, VA?’ … A flurry of posts, or ‘tweets,’ followed, as users reported rumbles as far away as Alexandria.” Local media reported the rumbling as possible blasting at nearby Ft. Belvoir 60 minutes after Winer’s initial Tweet, and confirmed it as a 1.8 magnitude earthquake 30 after that. Read the story. [...]

Posted by Twitter breaks news of DC-area earthquake : Twitter Gossip | Report as abusive

Re: “The earliest Twitter reports were wrong.” As I happened to be observing the first Twitter reports, I can say the *were not* wrong. They were “tweets” by individuals like Patrick Rufinni who posted something to the effect, “I just felt something like an explosion.” Others Twitter users in the area posted similar comments. Dave Winer amplified their “tweets.” This was like a person calling the newspaper and saying, “I just saw something that may or may not be news.” The process of how news is reported is not what is new. The ability of eye-witnesses to provide real-time facets of the story to a broad audience is what is new.

Posted by Rex Hammock | Report as abusive

[...] ParisLemon has a post looking at how the mainstream media is starting to catch on. He points to a Reuters story on how breaking news breaks on [...]

Posted by Wanted/Needed: Twitter Services Directory | Mark Evans | Report as abusive

[...] Breaking news, Twitter style The “Falls Church Incident” was earthshaking only in the most literal sense, but it is an interesting proof of concept that news can be broken on Twitter. (tags: _blog community journalism twitter) [...]

Posted by links for 2008-05-07 | andy brudtkuhl | Report as abusive

[...] Someone on the Code4Lib IRC channel (was it ‘lbjay’?) asked if anyone knew about an explosion in the Falls Church, VA, area after reading a report about it on Twitter. I ran a search in TweetScan for “Falls Church, VA” and was able to watch the event unfold as the “DC emergency tweet network” fired up. Eventually it was determined that it was indeed an earthquake event, but the discussion of the event via Twitter was enough to catch the attention of at least one media blogger. [...]

Posted by The Jester Joins Twitter | Disruptive Library Technology Jester | Report as abusive

[...] how Twitter would not gain mainstream acceptance. Then, I saw the article on Reuters regarding the earthquake near Washington, DC. I have previously said several times on this blog and in other places that I did not get Twitter. [...]

Posted by Why Twitter Will Go Mainstream – Regular Geek | Report as abusive

[...] mehr ein Beispiel, wie Nachrichten mittlerweile über Twitter zuerst verbreitet werden. Bevor auf der Seite des Grimme Online Awards die Liste der Nominierten zu sehen ist und noch [...]

Posted by Die Nominierten für den Grimme Online Award 2008 at viralmythen | Report as abusive

[...] erhalte, wird gelächelt bis gelacht. Um so beeindruckender ist, dass Adam Pasick in seinem Blog bei Reuters.com selbst schreibt: News of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online [...]

Posted by News auf Speed « Mjays Planet | Report as abusive

[...] has even gotten to the point that Twitter is now the place to be if you want to find out what the really breaking news is around the world. Whether it be a natural disaster, political results as they happen or having [...]

Posted by WinExtra » Is there a backdoor to mainstream popularity? | Report as abusive

[...] event has brought a lot of mainstream attention to Twitter, fueling discussions that it might be the fastest way to cover breaking [...]

Posted by MGH Word of Mouth » Blog Archive » Twitter Breaks News In China | Report as abusive

[...] MediaFile » Blog Archive » Breaking news, Twitter style | Blogs | Reuters.com News of a possible explosion in Virginia rippled through Twitter on Tuesday — in a preview of what’s to come in breaking news and citizen journalism. Reuters says they are looking for ways to use Twitter in the newsroom. (tags: twitter) [...]

Posted by The Zone Read » Blog Archive » links for 2008-05-07 | Report as abusive

This event was nothing compared to the media attention for Twitter during the Sichuan (China) earthquake. That really woke everybody up to the potentialities of Twitter. Not only Reuters, but also the BBC, VentureBeat and various others are seriously scanning Twitter. Read this blogpost on ReporTwitters (my blog about journalists using Twitter) for more information about who’s doing what, concerns surrounding accuracy etc.
http://blog.reportwitters.com/2008/05/19  /finally-the-news-media-wake-up-to-twit ter/

Enjoy,
Angelique van Engelen

Posted by Angelique van Engelen | Report as abusive

[...] queue for a while and today I get a time to write about it. As most of us know Twitter is the new way of looking at the news. Well I should say it is new age media now. There is certainly a media shift [...]

Posted by Supercharge your tweets with FatBird ; Its on Steroids. : Saving Someone’s Day | Report as abusive

Wow, that’s quite a great story. Twitter will push the “Breaking news” bar further if they keep this up. That was absolutely amazing…

Posted by Ruby Web | Report as abusive

You don’t need a feed so much as an intern with a Twitter account and a grasp of how to use some basic tools, not just Google.

Posted by Search PDF | Report as abusive

[...] 路透mediafile博客Adam Pasick :Breaking news, Twitter style (突发新闻、推特方式 [...]

Posted by twitter战胜传统通讯社? | 雙葉-維艱維難 | Report as abusive

[...] has even gotten to the point that Twitter is now the place to be if you want to find out what the really breaking news is around the world. Whether it be a natural disaster, political results as they happen or having [...]

Posted by Is there a backdoor to mainstream popularity? — Shooting at Bubbles | Report as abusive

[...] is more – Here is Reuters telling the story of how Dave Winer broke the Virginia earthquake story on twitter. At about 1:37 pm, software developer Dave Winer asked the Twitterverse: “Explosion in Falls [...]

Posted by The China Quake – The day that Twitter became THE Breaking News tool | Rob's Fast Forward Blog Posts | Report as abusive

Its good to see that they took this method to monentize Twitter, as I think using ads like facebook does would really ruin the whole ‘clean and easy to use interface that Twitter has to offer’

Optimus Prime Costume

Posted by Luke50 | Report as abusive