When President Obama came on last night and said to the nation that “All in all this has been a tough week…”, you could see us all put down our smartphones and let go of our mouses.
What ultimately will come out of this week was that we turned the page on where we get our news from. We can confidently say that the cable box is no longer needed, it has been replaced by millions of citizen reporters utilizing the latest technological gadgets.
From April 18, 2013, at approximately 5 p.m. EST, to April 19th, around 8:45 p.m., I was glued to my computer screen, not the high definition television in the living room. With my trusty Firefox browser, I had two small windows open streaming local Boston stations WHDH and WCVB. On my main browser window, I had a tab open to a USTREAM channel where a local Bostonian was video recording his police scanner for all the world to hear, and another tab open to the subreddit BostonBombing. While reading the pertinent threads on Reddit, you can imagine the number of additional tabs my browser had opened, multitasking at it’s finest.
The Boston manhunt will go down as a triumph for law enforcement and for crowd sourced news gathering. Here’s a Google doc of all the Reddit update threads compiled of the manhunt from the campus of M.I.T. to the town of Watertown. As you read the timeline, you’ll come across updates that later on down the line are reported to have been wrong, just like leads may turn out to be a dead end in a regular law enforcement case.
How can CNN compete with the likes of Reddit? Well to put it simply, they can’t and they shouldn’t, cause they’re ill equipped. I liken CNN to a lone sniper waiting patiently for the killshot order to come through his earpiece, while Reddit is a group of motivated individuals equipped with automatic AR-15’s aiming at their intended target. Last night, when the police approached suspect #2 hiding out in the boat, you could hear hundreds of rounds being fired at said boat. Did they all make their mark?
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence