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This research paper monitored Romanian mainstream media and social media for a month after a tragedy occurred. The fire occurred during a rock concert with 400 people in the club at the time, killing 64 and injured over 100. Minodora Salcudean and Raluca Muresan use “#Colectiv” to collect the data from the online press and from social media (mainly facebook, Instagram and twitter). The authors’ research suggests professional journalists still act as “responsible filters” when reporting the emotional tragedy. The authors believe the journalists make use of the authentic information and opinions from social media thus produce quality news report when covering a fire tragedy.

This research could be more comprehensive if the authors could take the impact of the picture into account when investigating how journalists use social media as a source and how emotional items are being quoted. As mentioned by the authors, social media is a cheap and convenient source of information, particularly in terms of citizen’s opinion and image-on-site. The latter is essential to the news report of tragedy, as 1) media might not have the resources or time to report onsite during the occurrence of tragedy; 2) news report with pictures, especially when related to victimization and emotions, are often found to have a greater popularity when compared to reports without images. Journalists could, therefore, be more likely to include images than text in their reports of tragedy.

Information from social media is a double-edged sword. Acquiring information is one thing, verifying is another. In the social media (and citizen journalism) era, fact-checking has never been so important for journalists. Journalism is valued due to credibility. Speed should not be a substitute for accuracy. The result suggested by this research is optimistic; whether it is the overall trends of journalism practices need to be examined in other countries, as well as in non-tragic daily life period.

 

Reference:
Minodora Salcudean and Raluca Muresan. “The Emotional Impact of Traditional and New Media in Social Events.” Comunicar, 50 (2017).

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