Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gordon Lightfoot is still alive

I've been somewhat remiss about tracking my media work of late*, but I came across this particularly fun link from a couple of months back (Feb. 18, actually) that I wanted to share.

It's from an interview I did with CTV News Channel's Marcia MacMillan This time out, we spoke about the Twitter-started rumor that erroneously spread "news" that Canadian singing legend Gordon Lightfoot - his most famous tune is arguably The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - had died.

Imagine Mr. Lightfoot's surprise upon hearing this on the radio as he drove home from a dentist's appointment. He was very much still with us, and called a national radio program to share this happy news with the country.

The incident raised all sorts of questions about the impact of social media on the news gathering and dissemination process, and the fact that without checks and balances, it's only a matter of time before this kind of thing happens again. And again. And...

The interview's here. Other televised hits can be found here, here and here.

Your turn: The dangers of Twitter, Facebook and other tools of social media. Please discuss.

* If you've just joined us, I lead a bit of a double life beyond my 9-to-5 career path as a data management guy. Long ago, I became a journalist by education, then an analyst almost by accident. Like Superman, who often uses fast-disappearing phone booths to switch into his alter-ego, I occasionally find myself switching gears into media-commentator-analyst mode as the sun sets (or rises...those early morning hits are fun.) Journalists, producers and editors from various print and electronic media often call me to talk about why a particular tech/business/culture story matters. It's resulted in some fun adventures along the way.


Mark said...

This worries me because we already have enough opinion going out as news on major networks, etc. Even when the facts are presented, I often see errors that should have been caught by editors or simple proofreading.

The blogosphere, Twitter-sphere, etc. are making all of the above worse. Yes, I know some argue that those tools allow the raw truth to be told, without the heavy hand of "the media" tilting it one direction or the other. I still think there's value in having a boss responsible for making sure his staff don't write one-source stories and present slanted commentary as fact.

When I was a reporter/photographer for a living, I never once was asked to nor saw someone steering a story toward a certain agenda. There are still publications and other media like that out there today.

Jan n Jer said...

OH...I am happy to hear that...although I never heard the rumor. I love Gordon Lightfoot..saw him in concert years ago in Baltimore Md.

LZ Blogger said...

Hey Carmi... I knew that... or at least I think I did! ~ jb///

Anonymous said...

Mark Twain: “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated!"
It isn't a new phenomenon, but Twitter, et al, has certainly made it faster-spreading and probably more common.