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Posted on 05.03.2011

The Difference In Breaking News Today and 10 Years Ago

I can distinctly remember sitting in my 10th grade Algebra class when news broke nearly 10 years ago on September 11, 2001, that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center. Our entire student body gathered in the auditorium as we watched the news unfold on CNN. Sunday night’s news of Osama bin Laden’s death was just as momentous, as I will always remember sitting on my couch watching TV when ABC interrupted my Sunday night guilty pleasure to broadcast the breaking news. Although I watched the news unfold on TV much in the same way I did 10 years ago, the news of Osama bin Laden’s death actually broke on Twitter, The New York Times reported. According to the report, Keith Urbahn, chief of staff to former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted “So I’m told by a reputable person they’ve killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn.” The rumor of bin Laden’s death had social media websites abuzz as people posted messages of the news to Facebook and Twitter every second.  According to The New York Time’s Media Decoder blog, Twitter recorded more than 4,000 Twitter messages per second at some times during President Obama’s address. Commenting on Twitter’s role in breaking the news, Nicholas Jackson of The Atlantic wrote: "Twitter has once again proven its worth. It might not win wars or spark revolutions -- that's still being debated -- but its value is clear to those of us who watched their feeds fill with news and notes over the past hour. Newspapers might be dead or dying, but traditional ink-on-paper reporters were able to share this story much faster than cable news outlets by adapting to this technology." Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way the world receives its news; it’ll be interesting to see how these stories break 10 years from now. How did you hear the news of bin Laden’s death? Do you think social media websites, like Twitter, are credible news sources?

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