Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world. Qualitative approaches are rarely utilized, even though ethnographic news production studies seem to gain popularity. Traditional journalism defines fact as information and quotes from official sources, which have been identified as forming the vast majority of news and information content. This model of news is in flux, however, as new social media technologies such as Twitter facilitate the instant, online dissemination of short fragments of information from a variety of official and unofficial sources.
This paper draws from computer science literature to suggest that these broad, asynchronous, lightweight and always-on systems are enabling citizens to maintain a mental model of news and events around them, giving rise to awareness systems that the paper describes as ambient journalism. It suggests that one of the future directions for journalism may be to develop approaches and systems that help the public negotiate and regulate the flow of awareness information, facilitating the collection and transmission of news.
Traditional journalism defines fact as information and quotes from official sources, which in turn has been identified as forming the vast majority of news and information content. Studies show that the largest single group of tweeters, making up 42 percent, are between the ages of 35 and 49, and that the average Twitter user is two to three times more likely to visit a news website than the average person (Farhi, 2009). UK national newspapers had 121 official Twitter accounts by July 2009, with more than one million followers (Coles, 2009).
Twitter has been rapidly adopted in newsrooms as an essential mechanism to distribute breaking news quickly and concisely, or as a tool to solicit story ideas, sources and facts (Farhi, 2009; Posetti, 2009). In a sign of how far Twitter has come, the UK-based Sky News appointed a Twitter correspondent in March 2009 who would be scouring Twitter for stories and feeding back, giving Sky News a presence in the Twittersphere” (Butcher, 2009). Considering Twitter as an awareness system also represents a shift in the consumption of news and information.
In their analysis of user intentions, they found that people use Twitter for four reasons: daily chatter, conversation, sharing information and reporting news. There has also been discussion on whether the breadth and depth of news reporting would suffer as more reporters sign up to Twitter (Wasserman, 2009). Micro-blogging has been considered in the context of citizen journalism, where individuals perform some of the institutionalized communication functions of the professional journalist, often providing the first accounts, images or video of a news event (Ingram, 2008).