Digital strategy and communications

15 Responses to “What role did social media play in the news coverage of 2011 Egyptian revolution?”

  1. Richard Kendall

    Great work, shows value of understanding the tools and networks available, vital role of curation and collaboration in creating context and aiding verification.

    And having a back-up plan when the networks get turned off!

  2. Alexander Bolton

    I think it’s important not to conflate the role of social media in fomenting the Arab uprisings, which is substantial, and it’s role in reporting it. There never is any substitute for correspondents on the ground of which the BBC and other organisations have many in Libya. Tweets remember are not a news ‘source’ like Reuters or other news media that can be quoted authoritatively. They can be important ‘leads’ to be followed up and verified by journalists, alerted to a potential story. You should be careful about taking them at face value; opposition groups in Iran have tried to stir up rebellion by spreading false reports of casualties. The BBC tries to independently check the provenance of all ‘User Generated Content’ it receives. The really big change we’ve seen with Egypt is the availability of cameraphone footage on Youtube. Often it’s the only pictures of an incident available. Citizen Journalism in action. But again, the verification issues remain. Who wants you to broadcast the material and why? Not saying there’s a conspiracy around every corner in (in fact thinking that way can be problematic in itself), but it’s important to remain open minded.

    • Kathryn

      Thanks Alexander.
      The role of verification is indeed a real issue in this area, and always has been. It is something that should always be born in mind when making decisions as to how to describe footage received, often in a rapidly changing and uncertain environment. There was a really interesting article in the FT questioning how much reporters really knew about what was going on in Egypt, which is worth a read, but I can’t seem to find. If I dig it out I’ll let you know.

  3. links for 2011-03-12 | A Web editor's tale

    […] What role did social media play in the news coverage of 2011 Egyptian revolution? « Kathryn Corrick (tags: media news egypt libya coverage socialmedia onlinenewspapers content collaboration twitter information middleeast curation aggregation) […]

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