The Meedan Blog Archive

Reporting breaking news online: Lessons from #BostonBombing

As we at Meedan followed the tragic and dramatic events as they unfolded today in Boston through both mainstream media (BBC, CBS Boston) and social media (Twitter) we noticed a couple of things that are worth recording:

Interesting how so many #watertown tweets source #Boston police scanner itself picking up twitter rumors - mediated mediated reality loop?

— Amine أمين(@AfriNomad) April 19, 2013

As we think about Checkdesk, and the role it could play in facilitating structured collaboration around fact checking, it strikes me that the biggest take home lesson from today’s news reporting is that we need to - as was succinctly put by Ma’an head Raed Othman at a recent Checkdesk meeting in Cairo - “chill the news” ( تبريد الأخبار). In a rush to publish, we lose access to important information, make avoidable mistakes, and create a self-affirming echo chamber based on false reports. Food for thought.