By now, many people are becoming used to Twitter as a source of breaking news, whether it’s a report about the death of Osama bin Laden or details about the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt. But it’s still fascinating to come across new examples of how the real-time information network can be used to report on a breaking news story, whether by professional journalists or those committing what Andy Carvin of NPR has called “random acts of journalism.” In one recent case, a member of Reddit pulled together a news report about a shooting in Toronto, including the tweets of those who attended and later became victims of the incident — another sign of how social media is changing both the way we consume and the way we produce journalism.
According to a number of news reports, the shooting took place late Monday night in a suburb of Toronto called Scarborough, at a house party attended by an estimated 250 people. By the end of the incident, two people were dead and more than 20 others were wounded. Within a matter of hours, a user at Reddit who goes by the handle “BitchSlappedByLogic” had posted a description of the events leading up to the party as well as the aftermath — and even some information about the background of those involved and their apparent gang affiliations.
The Twitter-sourced report is easier to verify
The entire report was compiled via Twitter, with links to individual tweets by someone who said he was the host of the party, as well as a teenaged girl who was one of those killed in the shooting:
Apparently, it was this guy’s party, as he says here. He’d been planning this party since July 7th. This guy apparently anticipated that problems might happen at the party. This girl, too. This guy too. So this could be the result of a pretty well-known beef. This person was shot. As was this person. This person was also shot — twice. This person was also shot, according to this tweet. This may be her in recovery, though I can’t be sure.
It’s interesting to look at the Reddit report, and then compare that to a traditional news report from the CBC (the publicly-funded broadcaster in Canada). The one on Reddit doesn’t look or read anything like a normal news story — instead of names, it has links to tweets and individual Twitter accounts, and there isn’t much of a story at all, just a recitation of facts or alleged facts. The CBC story has the names and ages of the victims, as well as some quotes from the police about gang violence, a quote from a friend of one of the deceased, and some eyewitness reports from the scene.
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