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Social media coverage of the unfolding events in Ferguson, MO continues to shine a light on real-time, unfiltered news reporting from both professional and citizen journalists. There was a time when the defenders of professional journalism would denigrate the citizen journalist as lacking in ethics, objectivity and, sometimes, even veracity. But those criticisms have lost some credibility.
Unlike the Kent State Massacre of 1970, the world is watching the crisis in Ferguson as it unfolds via social media. This is the age of #citizenjournalism, where the police in Ferguson are being vined, tweeted, instagrammed, wall-posted and pinned under the great social media microscope.
Controlling how news is reported and disseminated is inextricably linked to power. That's why dictatorships have always censored or removed the free press and run state TV stations with a rod of iron. While much of the western world has moved on from that, media is often controlled by a certain group, making citizen journalism a vital part of the opening up of reporting to everyone.
Our study illustrates just how much all kinds of media -- from national newspapers to lifestyle titles and B2B media -- have embraced content such as infographics, videos and blogs to enhance their coverage.
Thanks to online news, we're getting more breaking news than ever before. And thanks to social media, we're getting news as it happens—sometimes even before news organizations have a chance to report it.