Tag Archives: Dick Costolo

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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