Quick, do you remember how you got the news about:
The space shuttle Challenger crash?
The OJ not-guilty verdict?
The killing of Osama bin Laden?
The Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare?
I think you will find that, like me, you received word of each of these landmark news events in a different way owing to the evolution of technology and your engagement with different news sources and devices.
And, even though today we may grab devices for immediate news, we still hunger for opinion and analysis from traditional media.
Back before there were “devices”, the space shuttle disaster occurred. It was during “morning drive” for me in Los Angeles and I heard the news on the radio. Consequently I stayed glued to the radio to hear updates and considered it an excellent news source as they interviewed experts and painted an aural picture of the awful day.
The OJ verdict was more of a “planned media event.” The PR agency I was working at was almost giddy in setting up viewing “parties” in different offices and allowing everyone to stop what they were doing to watch. It was high drama and TV was the perfect vehicle. (It was also the perfect “vehicle” for the infamous OJ “white bronco” slow chase a few years prior!)
In re-visiting the catastrophe that was 9/11, many people heard this news via phone ––folks called all over the city to make sure friends and family were safe and were comforted when they could connect.
The event itself is very well-documented for family members by those infamous last phone calls from loved ones who perished. Of course we all became insatiable for news afterwards from all sources at the time – TV, radio, print and burgeoning online.
Osama bin Laden’s death was a watershed moment for breaking news online as people everywhere simultaneously reacted as they read the news on Twitter.
Which brings us to today’s Supreme Court ruling on health care (“Obama-care”). Certainly it qualifies as another “planned media event” but, truly media- evolved court junkies could not even wait nano-seconds for people to tweet and instead fired up the popular SCOTUS blog site which reports court decisions in real time.
It makes you wonder how we will learn about the next big news story. Any thoughts?