18-Year-Old Morgan Jones Reporting on the Aurora Shooting via Buzzfeed
When I woke up Friday morning to the news of the shooting that took place in Aurora, all sources pointed to this comprehensive timeline of the incident on Reddit. The world was watching as an 18-year-old Denver resident, not a local or national newspaper or television station, chronicled the events. Patching together media reports, updates from a police scanner, tweets and other Reddit posts, Morgan Jones was able to give a more comprehensive account of a breaking news event than even the most seasoned journalists. Reporters began looking to the Reddit timeline in order to report the news across the web.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and it certainly won’t be the last. While some journalists lament that any person can throw up a blog and call himself a reporter these days, I’ve found that this transformation has brought us closer to the truth. Rather than waiting for the news to go through filter after filter of eye witnesses, reporters, copywriters and editors, we’re hearing the news from the source at a faster speed than ever before.
When I interned in a newsroom several years ago and saw that reporters were being laid off left and right and local papers were completely shutting down, journalists were concerned that the stories of locals may go untold. Today, stories like that of Caine, a 9-year-old kid in East LA who created an elaborate DIY arcade, or the story of Karen, the bullied bus monitor from Greece, New York, are found on Reddit first.
Reddit is both a platform and a community. It allows anyone to tell his story or the story of someone who is unable or unwilling to tell it. Instead of reporters hanging out on street corners to tell stories, they hang out on the forums of Reddit and HackerNews waiting for the news to break. Ask a journalist what the favorite part of his job is. Often he’ll say “I get to tell other people’s stories”. Thanks to the Internet and sites like Reddit, we all get to do that now.