Social media playing a bigger role in news reports

national February 08, 2014 00:00

By Asina Pornwasin
The Nation

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Most Thai Internet users are active on social media, which has spurred growth in the country's online community.

Any incident could become well-known, and unsung people could become popular overnight through this “new” phenomenon.
Last week, Japanese reporter Daijiro Emani, here to cover the political crisis, became the talk of the town – and not only on social media but in the mainstream media. 
Meanwhile, a photo of an accident on Viphavadee-Rangsit highway was ‘tweeted’ – and it was suddenly was a ‘breaking’ story on news websites.
During the election on Sunday, there were numerous incidents shown on social media that became news 
on mainstream media, including caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra putting her vote card in the wrong box. 
There were also a number of vote cards which had words written on them rather than the required “X”, and a photo of caretaker Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan riding a red bicycle en route to voting was uploaded onto the Net. 
The way news develops in the era of social media often flows like this. 
However, journalists do try to leverage social media to enhance a story, especially in investigative news reports.
Journalists can utilise social media to add value to a story by using the platform as a tool for investigating issues. 
With the huge number of people who use social media, journalists as a way to “crowd source” for investigations – if they don’t mind revealing what they are doing. 
A “push” or “pull” technique can be utilised when using social media this way. 
A ‘push’ technique is when a journalist asks users to help with a probe while the ‘pull’ technique can result in users becoming sources and eyewitnesses to news stories. 
In Thailand, social media is playing a role as an original source for news issues. 
Many popular social media topics are covered by the mainstream media, though mainstream outlets are yet to fully utilise social media when developing stories. 
This is the challenge for the media.

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