This Just In: Social Media Ruining Journalism
Eyewitness news is an old phenomenon for local television stations: a citizen’s video recording of a gas station robbery, or some such sensational event, becomes free “news” for the station, relieving them of the burden of journalism.
Today, the increasing popularity of citizen journalism is blurring the line that once separated the gatekeepers of current events knowledge (journalists) from their well-informed, but ultimately passive brethren (readers).
While traditionally exclusive news companies like the Washington Post, whose reporters have privileged access to important sources, are slow to admit citizen journalists into their ranks, social media sites don’t ask for press credentials.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter define huge audiences which news media see as their potential readership. John Kelly, a journalist for the Washington Post, says that while the Huffington Post doesn’t compete with the Washington Post in terms of journalism, defined as judgment, analysis and explanation, it does compete in terms of readers.
Thoughts from the Oxford Social Media Convention can be found, naturally, on Twitter at #oxsmc09. Here are some of the more interesting ones:
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
It's a "canary in the coalmine," said one climate scientist.
- A team of researchers discovered that permafrost in Northern Canada is melting at unusually fast rates.
- This could causes dangerous and costly erosion, and it's likely speeding up climate change because thawing permafrost releases heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere.
- This week, Canada's House of Commons declared a national climate emergency.
One of Stephen Hawking's predictions seems to have been borne out in a man-made "black hole".
- Stephen Hawking predicted virtual particles splitting in two from the gravitational pull of black holes.
- Black holes, he also said, would eventually evaporate due to the absorption of negatively charged virtual particles.
- A scientist has built a black hole analogue based on sound instead of light.
Not every part of a satellite burns up in reentry. Considering the growing number of satellites in orbital space, that's a big problem.
- Earth's orbital space is getting more crowded by the day.
- The more satellites and space junk we put into orbit, the greater a risk that there could be a collision.
- Not all materials burn up during reentry; that's why scientists need to stress test satellite parts to ensure that they won't become deadly falling objects.
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