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How social media is changing the face of breaking news

October 7, 2014 by Sophie Hunt

Every big crisis, whether a product recall, major accident or allegations of corporate fraud, has a social media dynamic these days. The ability to share content in real time thanks to channels like Twitter and Facebook means an issue can go global within minutes so it’s no surprise organisations are having to review their crisis management training and planning to ensure it takes social media into account.

Two days after the iPhone 6 went on sale on 19 September, images surfaced on social media showing phones which appeared to have bent in people’s pockets as a result of accidental pressure. Within hours, the pictures had spread like wildfire on Twitter with thousands of people posting comments using the hashtags Bentgate and Bendgate – an unwanted headache for Apple and further proof of the speed with which social media can propel an issue into the spotlight.

In a recent survey conducted by Insignia with international print and broadcast journalists, 75% of those we spoke to said they viewed social media as either essential or important in bringing potential stories to their attention earlier and getting news out more quickly. It was also perceived to be a vital information source, with 50% of respondents saying they used social media to obtain eyewitness accounts, unofficial information, potential interviewees, video footage and images.

So what does this mean for traditional media in the long term and more importantly, what does it mean for the communications professionals trying to protect and maintain reputation in a crisis situation?

Our next webinar on 14 October is designed to give you the answers. As well as exploring how journalists have embraced social media, we’ll be looking in detail at the effect it has had on the way they source, verify and cover breaking news stories. We will also provide insights on how reporters would like to see organisations using social media to communicate in a crisis situation and we’ll highlight examples of good and bad practice.

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