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Check This: CNN Uses Blogs and Facebook to Cover Tornadoes

I guess it's true: We really are person of the year. This morning, while covering the devastation caused by the tornadoes that ripped through the mid-south, CNN relied on reporting from some very personal sources: Facebook and blogs. Using pictures of upturned cars posted on local Facebook pages and reading a posting from the blog Sassy Southerner to report the story, CNN pulled together a very eyewitness account, using no formal reportage.

With the death toll now reaching at least 52, President Bush has pledged aid to the states affected. The storms also ravaged Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

It's a big story to be sure, with many affected — my question is this: Is CNN enhancing the telling of the story with these eyewitness accounts, or is reporting the news best left to the journalists? Did a Sassy Southerner tell the story better than a Wolf Blitzer?

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gigill gigill 8 years
I agree with Kia. I think eye witeness reports can enhance a story, but there are all sorts of legalities that regular folks probably aren't aware of, plus they might not have a good enough style of telling the story to keep it interesting.
kia kia 8 years
I don't think a sassy southerner could do it better than Wolf Blitzer for a nationwide audience but I think using her as a source is a great compliment to the story. I don't like the idea of using the blogs and other sources without prior permission. I like the i-reporting if folks have to submit their information to the news agency... it is the kind of stuff BBC has done for a long time.
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
Ditto. Down with Facebook.
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
Ditto. Down with Facebook.
kitkatherine kitkatherine 8 years
that's so strange / weird / illegal? i dunno. this is why i think facebook is awful.i agree with mguy, first person accounts are best. so talking to people, or i guess not talking to them, and just getting pictures, through facebook seems awful.
kitkatherine kitkatherine 8 years
that's so strange / weird / illegal? i dunno. this is why i think facebook is awful. i agree with mguy, first person accounts are best. so talking to people, or i guess not talking to them, and just getting pictures, through facebook seems awful.
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
I think eyewitness accounts would be most important in this sort of scenario. A friend from Knoxville tried to tell me that a neighborhod Wal-Mart wasn't hit by the tornado when my grandparents live a block from the store and when I know a ton of people who live around there. He said it couldn't possibly happen because he didn't hear it on the Knoxville news. What really irks me (kind of random) is that a local radio station had an ad on this afternoon about how you have to tune in tomorrow morning to find out how to help out those who were affected by the tornadoes, while all the other radio stations were going ahead and telling the listeners how to help. It really bothered me that they were using it as a tool to get more people to listen to their morning show. And only one radio station even played the updates from the weather station!
mguy414 mguy414 8 years
I think eyewitness accounts would be most important in this sort of scenario. A friend from Knoxville tried to tell me that a neighborhod Wal-Mart wasn't hit by the tornado when my grandparents live a block from the store and when I know a ton of people who live around there. He said it couldn't possibly happen because he didn't hear it on the Knoxville news. What really irks me (kind of random) is that a local radio station had an ad on this afternoon about how you have to tune in tomorrow morning to find out how to help out those who were affected by the tornadoes, while all the other radio stations were going ahead and telling the listeners how to help. It really bothered me that they were using it as a tool to get more people to listen to their morning show. And only one radio station even played the updates from the weather station!
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 8 years
Yeah, hotstuff, the i-reports are definitely there--and this was the first time I'd seen a reporter digging through and citing sources like Facebook, in a report. It wasn't stuff people had sent CNN, they were actually mining the "blogosphere" for news. It definitely caught my attention. And you make a good point about using photos posted on the web without permission of the subject. I think it's definitely going to be an evolving story.
hotstuff hotstuff 8 years
CNN has been using ireports (as they call it) for months now. Though they did use it heavily for this storm. I was more shocked that so many people had so many pictures of the storm already posted on facebook. I was changing around the channel and also noticed that other news stations are using peoples pics and footage to cover the news. I think it's a new day and the internet is just the fastest way to get footage instantly from people actually experiencing it. I'm sick of hearing robotic news anchors like Wolf anyways so I can appreciate "real people" talk about what they are going through. The only thing that concerns me is I don't want these pics to exploit people. For example people are taking pictures of other people who are injured and posting it online but they don't have their permission to, then you have CNN showing the world these images.
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