How social media is affecting the news cycle

This is a presentation from January this year, given by Debra Askanase, creator of Community Organiser 2.0, at the New England Press and Newspaper Assosciation’s

I found her fourth point most interesting.

It is a well-known fact that social media has had a huge impact on the way in which news is shared, with people using twitter, facebook and other sites to post links to articles that hold a certain interest to them.  However, social media has also affected the way the news is actually created.

The news cycle is made up of four stages: breaking news, context, analysis and archival.


According to Askanase, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs contribute to the shorter breaking news cycle, in which context is added to news stories. Users of those sites can provide input by commenting, re-tweeting,  or uploading a video of their own experiences. So many of us have probably contributed to the news cycle without even knowing it.

The best example I can give you is the Queensland Floods in early 2011, and although it was quite some time ago now, the changing news cycle was demonstrated perfectly. The Queensland Police Service’s Facebook page became a place where people from many affected areas could share their experience of the flood, providing information the media may not have had access to otherwise.Youtube was flooded with videos of cars being swept away, houses torn down and people rowing down flooded streets. Many of these home videos were then used by television news companies, for weeks (and even months) to come.

In addition, Google search, Wikipedia, YouTube, blogging and Flickr help with the staying power, as well as the archival stage, making it incredibly easy to find ‘old’ news on the internet.

It is clear that through social media, anyone can comment on, contribute to or argue against breaking news stories. In turn, this may help journalists working on a news story to gather widespread information quickly, and possibly refocus their angle.


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One Response to How social media is affecting the news cycle

  1. Thanks so much for referring to my presentation and blog post. There’s an example of this happening right now in the United States with the current presidential election race. It seems that every gaffe sends bloggers to their computers, breaking the gaffe, commenting on it, shortening the immediate breaking news cycle, but lengthening the analysis!

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