Twitter and ABC create a Tweetable news show

Mashable.com reports that ABC News has created the first hybrid television news -Twitter blend — not as odd as it might first appear. The network’s Nightline news program and anchors are going to host a weekly online news program — called NightTline — that uses Twitter for debate and questions.

According to ABC, the show will take on Nightline’s Face-Off model, which pits two opposing sides on an issue that an ABCNEWS anchor provides and moderates. It’s a model that causes a lot of heated debate and verbal exchanges, perfect for an easily-distracted online audience….

Twitter will be integral to the entire show. There will be a Twitter widget that allows viewers to chime in on the discussion or ask questions during the debate. The Nightline anchors will also use Pixel touchscreen technology to display and interact with the debate occurring on Twitter.

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Hoax Leads to questions about journalists’ use of Wikipedia

As more newsrooms relax restrictions on using Wikipedia for background research, every now and then something comes along that should make every journalist cautious about using it.

PoynterOnline reports that in early 2009, a 22-year-old student in Dublin, Ireland, created a Wikipedia hoax that led several major news outlets to publish a fake quote. The quote ran in several obituaries about French composer Maurice Jarre, and the hoax might not have been corrected if the hoaxer himself had not notified the news organizations.

The student claimed he placed the quote on the Web site as an experiment when doing research on globalization. He wanted to show how journalists use the Internet as a primary source.

Where journalists failed, however, MSNBC reports that Wikipedia passed: News organizations “used the fabricated material … even though administrators at the free online encyclopedia quickly caught the quote’s lack of attribution and removed it.”

New search engine has appeal for journalists

A new search engine, Wolfram Alpha, recently was unveiled. The Online Journalism Blog notes that “Its use of databases and semantic search should be particularly exciting for journalists because a) it searches parts of the ‘hidden web’ that most search engines don’t reach (i.e. databases); and b) it has the potential to throw up quick answers to questions about relationships and facts that Google is also not great at.” Definitely worth a look for anyone doing research for a story.

Hope for investigative reporting

In “Deep Throat Meets Data Mining,” John Mecklin writes that ‘the digital revolution that has been undermining in-depth reportage may be ready to give something back, through a new academic and professional discipline known in some quarters as “computational journalism.'”  This discipline, Mecklin writes, represents an important breakthrough for a democracy:

On a disaggregated Web, it seems, people and advertisers simply will not pay anything like the whole freight for investigative reporting. But … advances in computing can alter the economic equation, supplementing and, in some cases, even substituting for the slow, expensive and eccentric humans required to produce in-depth journalism as we’ve known it.

Beyond the inverted pyramid: The news diamond

In his post “A Model for the 21st Century Newsroom: Pt. 1 — the News Diamond,” Paul Bradshaw offers a Web-first model of publishing that might prove useful for those teaching convergence journalism classes. He breaks the types of news reports into those that capitalize on the online mediums twin strengths of speed and depth. Compelling reading, as is Pt. 2 — Distributed Journalism.

Twitter basics

In “Twitter Reaches the Media Class,” Will Femia of MSBNC notes that a growing number of journalists have been writing about and using Twitter.  Femia proceeds to deliver a nice piece on the basics of getting into and using Twitter.

Investigative reporting in the Internet age

In the aftermath of the death of W. Mark Felt — the legnedary “Deep Throat” of the Watergate investigation — Leonard Downie Jr. of The Washington Post asks “Could We Uncover Watergate Today?” His answer: “I believe it could. But it would probably play out quite differently.”