AP Should Buy Twitter

- - Blog News

The picture by Janis Krums of the airplane in the Hudson river (here) is remarkable because there’s nothing like being there first with a camera/phone. The AP should buy Twitter and Twit Pic because they’re proving to be the place where news breaks first.

There Are 12 Comments On This Article.

  1. No they should not buy twitter or twit pic. We need less filtered government controlled media like AP, CNN and of course ABC.

    Twitter is great because its free and freedom to post what you want and should stay that way. Maybe the AP should purchase photos from the people that use twitter and not try to control it.

    Even youtube filters their content of subjects like war. Right now if you want to see what’s really going on in Gaza its not on CNN or youtube its on Liveleak.

  2. Doing my part for social journalism, I tweeted immediately upon hearing of the crash. This was about four minutes earlier than any of the peeps I’m following on Twitter. I didn’t see the crash or learn of it from Krums’ great photo. Rather, I found out about it through a CBS Marketwatch subscriber email. How boring!

    It was then that I began see a flood of reports, from my own Tweeps to the NY Times website and of course the AP via Yahoo news, which posted a “breaking news” banner that consisted of about 140 characters. Do you think they also posted that to Twitter…

    While social media is interesting, does it really move faster than those unwieldy news giants for big stories such as flight 1549? Is it really breaking when citizen journalists post stories that they heard via the news? I’m sure a few people learned of the incident within the first moments, as were the Twitter tales of the Mumbai attacks and the China earthquake, but what is 5 minutes, unless you’re actually in the hotel, at the epicenter, or on the plane?

    It’s a neat social experiment, I’m just not convinced that it “breaks” the news. The only tweets that consistently reach me before hitting the front page of the mass media is when my Tweep complains about the noise coming from their neighbor or that they’re stressed about an upcoming ebay purchase!

    By the way, if you want to Tweet me… I’m waxypoetic. ;-)

    • @Waxy,
      5 minutes is the difference between getting an original photograph and getting a photo 1000 other people took. it’s a big deal and if it can be licensed people like the LA Times wont have to resort to stealing it.

  3. AP owning Twitpic would be just another way for the news media to obtain free photos. They wouldn’t even have to ask for them.

    From Twitpic’s TOU:

    “By uploading your photos to Twitpic you give us permission to use or distribute your photos on Twitpic.com or affiliated sites.”

    Giulio Sciorio has it right when he suggest that maybe AP should consider purchasing photos from the people who upload to Twitpic.

      • @A Photo Editor, Yes, it does look like they purchased/licensed the photo. But if AP owned Twitter, that opportunity would not have been there for the photographer; it would’ve been free for the taking.

  4. Waxy asks some good questions. I followed the breaking story very closely because I am working on a twitter-based emergency response system.

    Waxy asked: “does it really move faster than those unwieldy news giants for big stories such as flight 1549? Is it really breaking when citizen journalists post stories that they heard via the news?”

    Yes, it definitively does move faster — Twitter is the fastest publishing system that has ever existed. And it reads like total bullshit nonsense, 99% redundant noise — we don’t have any structured way to contribute, or any sensible way to listen to the news as it breaks across *all* media. Certainly very few people on twitter know how to properly evaluate (or even cite) information.

    I think that we will be able to make great use of Twitter in a crisis, if we can just figure out how to involve citizen editors who listen to the noise and are able to build some structured information out of it. But until then we’re confusing citizen journalism with kneejerk retweeting, and @jkrums’ picture is an (iconic) fluke.

    To my mind the interesting thing isn’t how this plays out when a plane goes safely down in a river — what I want to know is how to save my ass when an earthquake hits my city.

  5. That photo was on the front page of NPR.org in the first 15 minutes of it being posted BTW! Didn’t mean to be dismissive above, it’s really historical I think.

    Oh also, even more on topic: Fuck the AP we need our own news.

  6. Erik Dungan

    I don’t think AP has enough money to pay the price a web property like Twitter could fetch.

    What they SHOULD do, if they were smart, is start building a news aggregation service built on top of the Twitter API. There are some growing services already doing this in other non-news spaces. See:

    http://www.boarding.fr/
    http://www.stocktwits.com/

  7. I’m with Erik Dugan who said: “I don’t think AP has enough money….”

    In November, it was reported that Twitter’s Board turned down $500 million from Facebook.

    When everyone who has a camera phone now has the ability to instantly publish to the world, the distribution channel they choose is dictated by Metcalf’s Law. Twitters value as a network grows exponetionally each day. (It’s value as a business model is still debatable, however.)

    Bottom line: there’s no way AP can buy or compete w/ Twitter. But like Erik says, nothing is stopping them from accessing the Twitter API.

  8. Is AP still paying like $10 per image?

    When the Staten Island Ferry crashed a few years ago, NYT sent me up in a helicopter to get some images. The AP wanted to license the images and because I knew of the BS reputation of AP, I negotiated my own price with no archiving.

    I’m not really concerned about citizen journalism. Honestly, I leave chasing spot news to the younger kids while I work on more in-depth issues. What’s sad to me is the publics ignorance concerning giving away the images at the profit of the news distributor.