Thursday, April 19, 2007

Consider all potential sources when covering a story

Where do you get your news?

In the case of the Virginia Tech killings earlier this week, many traditional media outlets began turning to some nontraditional sources.

As most of America sat glued to their televisions for the latest information on the shootings, some of the best reporting was being done on the Internet -- and not in sanctioned media. Many students started posting information to blogs and on social networking sites such as myspace and Facebook, using it as a way to communicate with each other and the outside world.

Savvy journalists used that as a way to gather information in this time of crisis.

Granted, this event is an extreme case, but how often do you look to those kinds of resources as potential sources for story ideas or for information on a given story? I can think of at least two instances where my staff has used myspace to get substantial leads and information. While obviously not always the most reliable source, this kind of unfiltered "journalism" can provide you with help when more traditional methods have failed.

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