The event I covered using Twitter was the Chinatown Speakout on Saturday, Jan. 28. I took several pictures and followed protesters from their march at the Chinatown Gates to the Statehouse past Boston Common. The organizers spoke out against President Donald Trump’s immigration and refugee policies, and many members voiced their opposition to what they saw as racist, sexist and xenophobic policy initiatives undertaken in his first week in office.
I was hoping to give people a real-time look at what was happening and what the sentiments were at the march. I wanted to give people plenty of visuals to see what kind of signs were there, what things were being said and where they were. Additionally, I captured a few people who were onlookers to the rally and I didn’t think of it beforehand but it was also an important aspect to cover. Onlookers seem fascinated.
Twitter news coverage was a new experience to me, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I can definitely see pros and cons to using Twitter as a coverage tool, but I’ll be honest and say that it doesn’t work well as the only tool. I think the AP does a great job by curating its content and pushing the most important information as soon as possible. So the negatives are obvious, there’s very little chance room for fact checking, if you are using Twitter as your main coverage tool and trying to push out constantly. Twitter almost lends itself to constant uploading immediately and isn’t very conducive to patient, journalistic work, though it can be achieved. On the positive side, however, its very easy to cover breaking news and keep your audiences informed with push notifications on their phones. There’s no need to “head back to the office,” or begin writing in a word document. But this often doesn’t let the writer see what kind of structure is most useful for his/her story and can lead to a lack of organization.
The optimal use for Twitter, in my view, is part of a reporter’s tool-belt.