Lauren Dugan asks if we'll see Twitter-only reporters soon?
Last year I was looking out my window on Bleecker St in the West Village and saw a huge plume of smoke off in the distance. Within five minutes, through Twitter, I knew exactly where the fire was, and had seen pictures taken by people on the scene.
I still follow lots of people in Berkeley, where I lived last, so I retain an online presence there, which is kind of neat. Same with Madison, where I went to grad school, long before there was anything like Twitter.
This prophecy goes all the way back, for me, to Salon boasting that they were the first web-only news organization to send a reporter to Bosnia. Big deal, I thought at the time (and wrote) -- the web is not only in Bosnia but in every other place where news is happening. The days when we had to send a correspondent to the scene to cover a story are fading fast. The Internet reaches everywhere.
I'm not saying there isn't something to be gained from going to new places and reporting on them with fresh eyes -- there is. Seeing Queensday for the first time at age 55 creates a different impression from that of people who grew up in Netherlands. Perspective is important. Having someone who's like me observing on my behalf has value. With the caveat that it isn't often that the commercial news vendors actually do that.