There is no doubt that social media has changed our world drastically. A very large part of this change comes in the way we get our daily news. In the old days a reporter had to hear about a story, investigate it, interview witnesses and other knowledgeable persons and then write an article for the masses to read. This process takes vast amounts of time. With widespread use of the internet, including news sites and the real-time connectivity of social media sites, news reporting delays are quickly approaching zero.
This means that an event can occur and go from complete obscurity to worldwide top news in as little as a few minutes. Major news networks, and even small time bloggers, make it their business to scan the web for potential stories. With so many people carrying cell phones equipped with built-in video cameras and direct internet connectivity, an event can be recorded as it is happening. Within seconds it can be uploaded to the internet for anyone to find. News networks have ways of locating such videos and stories, often through major social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter and can almost immediately begin reporting on them. With direct video footage of the incident, corroborating the story through research and interviews is almost unnecessary. A good reporter really only has to know where on the web to look and major trending news stories can literally pop out at them.
Is this complete lack of a delay in news reporting a positive or negative for the world? In a way it can be both. Reporting news immediately after it occurs can definitely be beneficial. For example, when a major story such as an earthquake, tsunami or other natural disaster occurs, immediate reporting could expedite rescue efforts. On the other hand, immediately reporting a story without taking the time to fully investigate the facts of the case could lead to false reporting, which can have some devastating consequences. As we all know, even events captured on video may not tell the complete story. Often news reporters are in such a hurry to break the story that they are willing to report the visual evidence as truth, whether that is the case or not.
The benefits and costs of no news delay are debatable. But the fact that news can be reported in little or no time is a fact. This fact has forever altered how we learn about the events going on around us.