Twitter, the New York Times and the Guantanamo video

Yesterday morning, I didn’t go into work — where I might normally grab the New York Times and leaf through it and the Journal before zooming to my inbox and my electronic reading.

But I did check Twitter.

And that’s what told me to go to a specific story in the New York Times.

The tweet was from Dick Costolo, VC, blogger, founder of Feedburner — and one of my favorite people on Twitter. I’ve never met the man and he doesn’t follow me, but he makes his points briefly in ways that arch my eyebrows or make me grin in the middle of hectic days.

His “Tweet” was short, but it got my attention: ” We’re torturing a 15 year old? That’s just great. http://tinyurl.com/6389cc”

One click, and I was faced with a story that probably only the Times has both the resources and the cojones to write: video, released from this (actually) 16 year-old’s lawyers, of his interrogation in Guantanamo. I don’t know where you stand on the war or Guantanamo, but Obama and McCain agree that the Geneva Conventions allowed us to be a standard for human rights in the world; to be respected for essentially drawing our “line in the sand” that we would not cross (you’ll pardon the expression; see Post, below).

It was a sobering story, no matter your country or political affiliation; your stomach clenched a little, reading it.

It also reminded me of why “old” media isn’t dead, and why there is room for both old and new media in this world.

Both mediums did exactly what they were supposed to do. There are really cool examples of Twitter and its ability to “crowdsource” and radiate news out from any point — China, Egypt, Tibet. That is what it’s supposed to do, and in the hands of journalists and non-journalists alike, Twitter is exceedingly powerful.

But I would argue that the New York Times, with its clout (and the attendant ability to open doors and get information) and — in some circles anyway — its credibility, not to mention its reporters’ ability to tell stories in a way that will get people’s attention and get them to care… is also exceedingly powerful.

Both kinds of media are necessary to shine a light in dark places — whether dark cells like Guantanamo, or corridors on K Street, or on a cloudy day in Tibet.

I just don’t get such a graphic reminder of why they work, every day.

What do YOU think about “old” and “new” media?

(By the way, fair disclosure, I usually eschew the terms “old” and “new” — unless you want to call me “old lady” and my daughter “new lady.”)

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3 Comments

Filed under Media, Web 2.0

3 responses to “Twitter, the New York Times and the Guantanamo video

  1. emily

    I attended a PRSA event recently and one of the comments made by a panelists (editor at the Denver Post) in reference to new media was this:

    “The way the world was isn’t always going to be the way the world is”

    I enjoy the simplicity in that comment.

    In my opinion, I think that we should hold tight to newspapers and magazines, that there will always be a place for them, perhaps not as big a place as there once was, but still. I feel we should embrace new media, learn and feed our brains with all the knowledge we can, available in seconds on the web. Then and only then, find a happy medium.

    And that happy medium may take a lot of work – searching for something that peaks our interest, sifting through one sentence clickable headlines, gathering information, which leads one to grab for for tangible reputable, smart in-depth articles (NYT, WSJ, etc.). It may take that much work to find out the truth.

    I guess my point is this, both “new lady” and “old lady” can teach us a thing or two. It’s all in the way we interact with them.

  2. Pingback: How to Save Newspapers; or, lessons of the Giant Water Bug « Alittleclarity’s Weblog

  3. Pingback: Acts of Sedition, Contrition and Prosti..tition? Why we still need newspapers like the New York Times « Alittleclarity’s Weblog

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