Front Line Journalism – Has Twitter taken it a step too far?

Last night I read a news report about Mark MacKinnon – a journalist covering the Bangkok  troubles. Sheltering in a Temple, he tweeted updates from his phone about the desperate situation he was facing. There is something that makes me feel very uncomfortable about this. Surely this is a step too far.  

I am not a fan of journalists trying to get as close as they can to the action. Although it provides us with insight into what is happening, these people should not be in the midst of it all. The News 24 culture demands bigger and better stories to keep people engaged, but the detail here is too much and only goes to make me feel more helpless in the situations arising.

Last night’s situation is a tricky one. In terms of Twitter being used to get help for those clearly suffering, maybe it did raise the alarm for ambulances and for general awareness of how desperate the situation was. Though it seemed the ambulances were already there – just couldn’t get through the firing lines at first.

But why tweet the whole saga – it wasn’t a one off tweet crying for help. Sky News call it a ‘minute by minute’ account. The boundaries have become confused as to whether this was a man’s personal experience of a dreadful situation, or a front line news headline from an award winning heroic journalist. Is this what we are to expect in the future of live news coverage?

If so it’s not for me. It’s not balanced news reporting. If it’s purely his personal account of a situation then fine, but then the media shouldn’t use it in a way that makes him sound like a front line hero.

Your thoughts please.


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