Monday, July 06, 2009

A Different News Reality

Sarah Palin provides the latest episode of social news versus legacy news with the continuing coverage of her resignation. USA TODAY carries a story detailing the perplexed politicians and pundits. It serves as little more than a vehicle for the public statements of a cadre of public figures.

Taken at face value, nobody knows what the soon-to-be former governor is going to do or why she did what she did.

Unless you notice a couple of paragraphs in the middle. USA TODAY obliquely refers to Palin's Facebook page, pulling out a brief quip, then to Palin's Twitter page and some damage control work regarding accusations of a FBI investigation.

Suddenly, the six paragraphs in front and the six paragraphs behind are nothing more than two giant buns around the meat of the story. If anyone read past the rambling opening, they were off to the social media.

You betcha.

The story's not that different from the death of Steve McNair or the continued detailing of Mark Sanford's "hiking". There is the reality based on the 20th century model of objective journalism playing out in print and on screen. Then there's the fully digital story existing in the partisan world of 21st century social media.

The disturbing part is the way the versions of what happened diverge. There is a news for everyone.

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