Mathew Ingram tweeted what I’ve thought about a lot of news stories on television: it’s amazing how much TV coverage of Whitney Houston’s death consists of some news anchor just reading tweets on the air.
I’m a proponent of big media’s efforts to interact with people watching and reading their news reports. Anything that can make us listen to people, talk with them and learn from them is sorely needed. That said, as a viewer of a lot of television news, I haven’t ever seen a viewer’s response that resonated or added to my understanding of an event, including Houston’s.
Local and national television news shows use Twitter and Facebook posts on the air to, to, to, well, I don’t know what they do it for. Most of the time, the people tweeting aren’t identified by real name or location. My favorites are the controversial topics that have multiple “sides.” The announcers make sure that all sides are represented from the Facebook and Twitter commenters.
I understand the desire to involve people in newscasts. Newspapers let readers have 200+ words to write their reflections on any manner of civic issues and the papers publish them as letters to the editor.
News programs insert the Twitter and Facebook reactions in their newscasts. Shouldn’t the inclusion of such stuff add to the story in some way? It is possible to write a penetrating thought in 140 characters. Perhaps television stations have put them on the air. I just haven’t seen any.