Twitter Beat CNN

by David on April 5, 2010

I found it ridiculous a few months ago when Michael Jackson died and people were claiming that Twitter beat CNN. That wasn’t true. Twitter had unverified (yes, and correct) reports that Michael Jackson died before CNN and other traditional news outlets were able to verify it. That’s what they have to do.

Earthquake shakes things up

Yesterday there was a 7.2 earthquake in Mexico that we felt here in LA. It was a BIG quake and not all that far away the way these things work.

The first thing I did was check the USGS website. Then, I tweeted info along with the USGS URL. Finally, I turned on CNN to see what was going on. I knew that CNN would have more info than I had.


Don Lemon was on asking people to tweet what they felt to @donlemoncnn.

I continued tweeting updates from the USGS website when there were aftershocks and an unrelated quake north of Sacramento. I tweeted that to Don Lemon as well. He continued to read tweets on air about people feeling the quake in LA and their pool water moving. No news.

CNN kept cutting to a woman on a computer for info. She was using Google Earth to see the quake info and report on the aftershocks. I continued to be 5 – 10 minutes ahead of CNN in reporting this news.

How Twitter beat CNN this time

You are wondering why I think that people tweeting about the quake (there were hundreds of others within seconds of the quake) beat CNN but that wasn’t the case for Michael Jackson. Simple.

I was using the same types of websites as a source that CNN was using. CNN wasn’t verifying beyond trusting Google Earth or the USGS.

There was an opinion piece last week in the LA Times about the iPad and the effect of technology on reporting standards. We all know that newspaper and magazine print subscriptions are down and more attention is being given to the online versions. It seems that editorial standards are often significantly weaker for online media for the same publication.

CNN did the right thing verifying Michael Jackson’s death. My issue with the quake reporting is that if CNN is going to just use the same websites I am, they should be much faster in the reporting.

On a positive note for CNN: Fox News and MSNBC had no quake reporting. Of course, top marks go to KABC-TV channel 7 for the best live coverage. Of course, I would have preferred some news of what was happening in Mexico, not Los Angeles.

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