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20 JUNE 2009

New Media vs Old Media: Iranian Protests

"On Saturday June 13th, as protests began to flare on streets across Iran, 10.5m American TV–viewers naturally turned to CNN [...] Unfortunately, instead of protests many of them saw CNN's veteran, Larry King, interviewing burly motorcycle–builders. [...] [Yet,] thanks to the internet, dedicated news–watchers knew what they were missing. Twitter and YouTube carried a stream of reports, pictures and film from Iran's streets. The internet also facilitated media criticism. [...] A typical post: 'Iran went to hell. Media went to bed.'

[...] By June 16th Americans were getting decent reports, and even Mr King was paying attention to the story. [...] Meanwhile the much–ballyhooed Twitter swiftly degraded into pointlessness. [...] Even at its best the site gave a partial, one–sided view of events. Both Twitter and YouTube are hobbled as sources of news by their clumsy search engines.

Much more impressive were the desk–bound bloggers. Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post, Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic and Robert Mackey of the New York Times waded into a morass of information and pulled out the most useful bits. Their websites turned into a mish–mash of tweets, psephological studies, videos and links to newspaper and television reports. It was not pretty, and some of it turned out to be inaccurate. But it was by far the most comprehensive coverage available in English. The winner of the Iranian protests was neither old media nor new media, but a hybrid of the two."
(The Economist, 18th June 2008)

TAGS

blogbloggingcitizen journalismCNNFacebookHuffington PostIran • Larry King • mediamedia criticismnew medianewsold mediapro-sumerprosumerprotestTwitterYouTube

CONTRIBUTOR

Adina Huma
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