A 23-year-old journalism student in the USA has staged a media revolution that is breaking the dominance of traditional media and known major news websites as news sources. Craig Kanalley, a graduate student of DePaul University in Chicago, is using twitter – a social network platform – to break major news all over the world with the speed of a bullet.
His invention – Breaking Tweets – is a customized news service that thrives on tweets from people (twitterers) globally as well as latest news from every corner of the world. Fascinated by his innovative idea, I asked him for an interview and he willingly obliged. Below are excepts of our conversation:
What is breaking tweets?
Breaking Tweets is “World News, Twitter-Style.” It’s a site that collects tweets around the world on the latest news to help people expand their knowledge about the world around them and other cultures. It also explores Twitter as a journalistic platform, especially for breaking news.
Can you briefly tell me about yourself and how breaking tweets started?
I’m a 23-year-old graduate student at DePaul University in Chicago, USA, studying journalism with a focus in online and new media. I attended Barack Obama’s Inauguration as part of DePaul’s student delegation and tweeted throughout my time there, along with the other students. I also twittered and blogged on the experience for the Chicago Sun-Times. While in Washington D.C., I saw the power of Twitter as a place for eyewitness accounts and storytelling. It inspired me to create Breaking Tweets, which started on January 31 as a personal blog.
What is the rationale behind breaking tweets?
Breaking Tweets creates easy-to-read round-ups of the latest news around the world. It provides “quick hits” for people who are busy to read about the latest news. It’s easy to scan and allows people to get to know the world better. We encourage comments and want to make it a place that facilitates global dialogue.
How different is breaking tweets from the mainstream media e.g BBC, CNN, Reuters?
Breaking Tweets let’s the people tell the story, not the journalist. We provide details any story would, and link to mainstream sites for more information, but we also empower local citizens and other observers to tell the story through their perspective. The tweets add context and make the story more compelling to read. They personalize the news.
How do you check the credibility of information being tweet by individuals who are not journalists?
We do the best we can to verify the Twitter users are where they say they are by looking at their past tweets for context, their Web sites, and googling their names. We seek to only use tweets we can verify at a reasonable level. We avoid spammers and brand new accounts that seem to be abusing the news.
How do you fund the project?
Currently, we just use Google Ads which generates very little, if any, money on a day-to-day basis. We are in the process of trying to develop a business model to sustain the site and help it grow. We also welcome sponsorship or advertising inquiries at this time.
What is the patronage level like around the world?
People are thrilled about the project around the world. We have received great feedback from all over. Our site has been visited by 123 countries, and it is visited by dozens of countries every day. The majority of our audience, so far, comes from the United States and Europe, but we seek to spread our reach to other parts of the world in the coming months.
How does one become a contributor?
We are always looking for new contributors, particularly people who would like to focus on a specific beat, like a specific region or country. Those interested in contributing can contact me directly either through Twitter (@ckanal) or the Contact form on the Breaking Tweets Web site.