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Like hard news (NOT news stations) social media is lame. Well, maybe not lame, but certainly makes me feel like I (Alison, that is) have déjà vous.

Within 10 minutes of the Chandler Mall lockdown yesterday, I must have read 150 tweets from media wanting to be the first to report on the topic and reporting it from all of their feeds. Just one problem.

No one was really first.

Everyone was all sort of tied.

And it was all really repetitive.

And it really junked up my Tweetdeck.

That’s the main reason I hate breaking hard news stories that don’t lend themselves to analysis or commentary on Twitter.

Sports breaking news is one thing – if a story breaks, there are immediately 150 tweets about it but almost all of them follow with opinion or speculation.

With regular hard news, however, you just can’t do that. Things like a shooter in a mall are serious and social media doesn’t lend itself well to that sort of thing. Or maybe it is the other way around.

And, come to think of it, I think I have a second problem. All day long, I got reports that the suspect was a fugitive, only to find out that was never the case. This brings up an entirely different can of worms!

Anyone else agree? Anyone else get the tiniest bit annoyed when their Tweet Stream is overrun with one story for half the day?

Before you go crazy on the comment section, I am not against hard news, but I am just wanting the media that is adept at social media to find an innovative way to report it in the social space – if there is a way.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio


  1. Syleste says:

    Alison, girl, I gotcha…

    I thought about this yesterday after I got off the desk.. I was checking my twitter and facebook.. and it was a rash of who what where and when… but no why.. and you’re right it wasn’t even the guy they “thought” they were looking for..
    Not sure if there’s a way to report it by way of social media without the rash of media tweets.. the only idea I have right now.. is to maybe include some of those personal accounts and their video/pics instead of just reporting the bullet points. 🙂
    Great topic.

  2. News Guy says:

    Two thoughts: your first sentence makes absolutely no sense. Second, it is clear that you have never worked in a news room and you don’t understand how Twitter is used as a news tool. For those who manage local news, keeping the public informed is their number one priority. During serious breaking news situations like yesterday, reporters and crew scramble to provide the most current, up-to-date information and share it with the public. Twitter has become one of the venues where they do so. Think about when and where did you FIRST hear about the situation? Was it on TV? Radio? Or on Twitter? And just because you sit on Tweet deck all day watching Twitter doesn’t mean that the thousands of other people who follow local news folks do… in fact most Twitter users will check on Twitter occasionally but not sit there watching it minute by minute. To bitch about news people trying to inform you is pretty much the dumbest thing I’ve EVER hear a PR person say. You are an idiot. By providing information on a regular basis they are trying to keep people informed – and yes some of that information was not correct but they never reported is as “confirmed.” If anything is lame, it is this post. I hope news people you pitch don’t read it – as a reporter who was busting my ass to cover the situation yesterday I am offended. You clearly don’t get media.

  3. News Guy – thank you for your comments.

    I actually agree with much of what you said.

    1. I have never worked in a newsroom. Unless you count my high school newspaper and video production programs, of course. But thanks to my role as a public relations practitioner, I have had the opportunity to work and get to know the best in the business. I hope I have learned things from them about how that side of the news works.
    2. Twitter is a fantastic news tool and we are all getting better and knowing how to use it effectively to share the news. As much as I am a public relations practitioner I am a concerned citizen and fanatic about my news. Have been since high school.
    3. Keeping the public informed is the news media’s number one priority. Again, totally agree. As much as Twitter helps get information out fast, it also gets misinformation out fast. We are all guilty of wanting to be first and maybe not worrying so much about being right.
    4. I did hear about the situation on Twitter first – and love Twitter for that exact reason. As a citizen wanting the news – not a public relations person at all – I was more interested in the safety of the people and much preferred those reports. Again, for me, I have always been a fan of what I call “page-two stories” – those that delve deeper than the initial news printed on the front page. I am eager for that information, which was delivered in spades yesterday by all of the local news stations. There is actually a thread in a local public relations Facebook page where we were all commending the media for their hard work. I see it everyday, on the news, in the paper and on Twitter.

    As someone who watches and reads the news, both on and off-line, thank you for you honest thoughts and please certainly feel free to contact me directly if you would like to connect at

    Thank you for you honest thoughts and please certainly feel free to contact me directly if you would like to connect at Again, I didn’t write this as a public relations post, but as someone who watches and reads the news, both on and off-line.

    Syleste – thanks for your thoughts.

    I actually think you wrote it better than me when you said “I was checking my twitter and facebook. And it was a rash of who what where and when… but no why…and you’re right it wasn’t even the guy they “thought” they were looking for…”

    I really just wanted to know people were okay and it was more the rash of one item – and then the worry I had when I thought it was that fugitive – that compelled me to write this. And, like you, I am obsessed with the “why.” Certainly, it was too soon for that sort of information, but I was seeking it nonetheless. Thanks to your station – and all of those – who covered it. We even paused the Phoenix Suns/Lakers game last night to make sure we could watch all the reports live.

  4. Unless known as fact, announcing “unconfirmed” information is speculation. Speculation is not an objective view of the facts. Opinions in news reporting, if it is going to be called “news,” should be stated as such.

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