On Tweeting the Newtown Tragedy: Wolff or Carvin?

The tragic shootings in Newtown have prompted a lot of reflection (and finger-pointing) in the media, especially given the level of misinformation and confusion during that first terrible day. NPR senior strategist @acarvin offered a few jabs at traditional media when it seemed some outlets were relying on speculation over fact. But media critic Michael Wolff fired back in The Guardian, singling out Carvin, who is known for his innovative use of social media to cover stories happening on the other side of the world (like the Arab Spring). Wolff made the case that new media mavens like Carvin are just as guilty of spreading misinformation as traditional media. But he also decried the “self-righteousness” of new media evangelists and made light of Carvin’s particular brand of journalism, which is to tap his massive following to fact-check and confirm. Carvin responded on Storify, offering a paragraph-by-paragraph rebuttal. The exchange highlights the uneasy place occupied by digital journalists in an industry where change seems almost to outpace their ability to create professional standards. Which view do you take?

About Brian Frank

Brian Frank is the editor of Online Journalism Review and the web editor for SoCal Connected, a local television newsmagazine based at independent Los Angeles public media station KCET.