WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Reporters Should Not Be Stenographers

Jul 29, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists debate whether Twitter should be used simply as a “play-by-play” tool during live events.

The Poynter Institute reported on a study that found journalists covering the 2012 presidential debates tweeted out candidate claims without checking the veracity of the statements.

The Shop Talk panelists agree it’s difficult to fact check while live tweeting what’s said during an event.  But Lisa Kernek suggested Twitter should not be used for play-by-play; instead it could provide supplementary commentary similar to what’s done with some movies shown on television.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton also questioned whether journalists are making the best use of Twitter during live events. She supported Kernek’s suggestion, though she wondered if staffing levels would allow news shops to do that.

Crighton also said live tweeting comments without doublechecking them raises the issue of being accurate but not truthful.

Panelist Rich Egger said fact checking and context is often provided in the days after a debate, but now some people don’t want to wait – they expect all the information as an event unfolds.