Social Media Verses News Reporting

Around about 10 years ago I cam across a little known movie called “Gossip”. The central idea to the film is that gossip and rumours can be looked upon as fact. In fact its summed up by the quote;

Gossip and news *are* the same thing, they’ve always been the same thing. People tell stories, that’s what makes us human.

If there has ever been an example of this, it must be this story of what happened to ITV Westcountry:

160x120 knut the polar bear at berlin zoo Sipa Press / REX

ITV has acknowledged an “embarrassing” on-air error after a reporter claimed that a polar bear had washed up on a Cornish beach, but the animal later turned out to be a cow.

Naomi Lloyd, presenter of ITV’s West Country breakfast bulletin, told viewers that the large, white beast had been brought in on the tide close to the seaside town of Bude.

“A walker in Cornwall has caught an extraordinary sight on camera. A polar bear has washed up on a beach near Bude,” said Lloyd.

“The bear comes from the Arctic Circle and an investigation is under way as to how it could have ended up there.”

Now it turns out that the cow which was  bleached white by the sea, was spotted by dog walkers… who in turn contacted the TV station. The TV station then put this story live on air.

This has got me thinking. Is news reporting ‘fact’ or ‘word of mouth’?

If the latter, is social media replacing ‘word of mouth’?

For example, if I want to check travel information, I check Twitter – not a website. Another example is that I heard about the bomb scare in Exeter the other day via Twitter – not via traditional news mediums.

Are we really getting to the point where gossip social media is starting to over take traditional news reporting?

The Pope,The Internet, And BT

Heres an odd one from The Register.

It seems that BT Openreach (the engineering arm of BT) , have released a notice advising they will not be taking “any escalations for faults and orders in the London area next week due to the visit of the Pope”.

Odd considering the amount of businesses in the local area that would obviously depend on broadband. Also odd considering this hasn’t announced by other Internet Service Providers.

Just seems a bit odd…

In other news, you can sign up to get Catholic Broadband in America…

Dear Cardinal Walter Kasper…

Lets face it.

Your boss is taking a trip around here this week, and I have to admit. As a country we’re probably not being the most welcoming hosts. I imagine we’re probably a little like that family who say “come and visit”, and when you do, they spend the entire time you’re there grumbling, and making you feel unwelcomed.  If I was at that families home, I’d personnally go on a charm offensive. Yes it would probably seem cheesy and forced, but there may be a chance I might (in the end) do the the right thing.

Couldn’t you have at least tried to be charming about us?

Now I have to admit, I’ve not read the actual interview itself (not due to lack of trying), and I’m sure the media have twisted your remarks. The thing is, I cant help but wonder what you were thinking when you said;

“when you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country”

Did you mean spiritually speaking? (As your press man in Scotland feels).  If you did why did you say Heathrow, and not the England / Britain / UK ?

It just feels a tad unsensitive 🙁

One last point. Why dont you want to come and see us? Maybe we could chat, sit down around a pint and talk it out.

I understand you’re not feeling great, but you can make it to some fancy dinner with the Germans tonight… we would look after you, buy you a pint or two, plus we do have the NHS who I’m sure would look after you as well as anyone else.

Thanks for reading.

The Church Sofa Lads

P.S If  you do fancy a pint sometime, please let us know. It doesn’t have to be over the next 4 days, you could come over and visit at some other point.