Twitter as News Source at the crash of Turkish Airlines TK1951 on Schiphol Airport Febr. 25, 2009 Peter Verweij Hogeschool Utrecht, School voor Journalistiek
Twitter works best in situations where the story is changing so fast that the mainstream media can’t assembly all the facts at once ( Paul Farhi, Washington Post)
Twitter works for journalists as an awareness system (Alfred Hermida, University British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)
Ambient Journalism: The value does not lie in each individual fragment of news and information, but rather in the mental portrait created by a number of messages over a period of time. (Alfred Hermida)
Cases and Data
Schiphol crash of Turkish airlines op Febr. 25, 2009 (N=294)
American Airlines crashes on runway of Kingston airport(Jamaica) on Dec. 22, 2009 (N=1373)
Ryanair crashes on runway of Prestwick (Scotland) on Dec. 23, 2009 (N=300)
Type of tweet: RT, @ , T
Source: Privat person or journalist
Message containing facts or news;
Referring to source, report, map;
Referring to media;
Nationality (only Schiphol)
Dutch affair: more than half of the analyzed tweets were from Dutch origin(55%)
Majority from private persons (86%)
Content: News and Comment share a first position(both 40%)
Journalists(62%) tweet more often news than private persons(35%); the opposite in the case of comment(16% versus 44%)
Results: Schiphol 2
Timeline: first the news followed by reference to source and comment
Within 3 hours more than half of the tweets are sent and half of them is news(50%)
Results Schiphol 3
Nipp: “Airplane crash @ Schiphol Airport Amsterdam!! This is the first tweet.
Citizen reporters are called on their mobile by the mainstream media as traditional sources: eye witness.
As long as there are no official responses, Twitter is the only source for the mainstream media.
Results 4 Ryanair and American Airlines
There are no eye witnesses: no citizen reporting
Ryanair: 51% of the tweets is referring to a source or a medium; Schiphol 21%
Ryanair: 41% RT; Schiphol 11%
American Airlines: 41% is referring to a source or medium;
American Airlines: 28% RT
Resultaten 5 Ryanair en American Airlines
Ryanair: 3 uur na de ramp 2/3 van de tweets, maar slecht 40% zijn nieuws tweets (Schiphol 50%)
Results 6 Ryanair and American Airlines
American Airlines: 3 uur after the crash 32% of the tweets have been sent, but only 33% are news tweets.(Schiphol 50%)
PS: time difference with Florida US
Discussion 1 Hypothesis 1 and 2
Live tweets by citizen reporters are vital for the development of the news stream.
In the case of live tweets, Twitter works as an ‘alert system’ and is a source for following and for the development of the news.
Discussion 2 Hypothesis 3 Ambient Journalism: Wisdom of the Crowds
In all the three cases analyzed no filtering could be discovered in the total collection of tweets. No growing consensus about for example, fires, casualties or the cause of the crash.
However the Schiphol crash was also covered with CoveritLive by three newspapers(Trouw, de Volkskrant, De Pers)
On Coveritlive one sees a developing consensus.
Coveritlive is a central point and the journalist plays the role of moderator.