The new challenges YouTube & the social web present broadcast news

Social media and changing search habits have broadened our appetite for more graphic news content but present difficult editorial decisions for journalists, reporters with Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ, said in a programme broadcast on Thursday evening.

Screen shot of YouTube showing warning messageThe comments were made on Now That’s What You Called News 2011 (#ntwicn11) RTÉ’s annual digital review of the most searched and shared news stories in Ireland in the past year.

Speaking about the Arab Spring and the YouTube video showing the shooting of Colonel Gaddafi newscaster Bryan Dobson (@bryansixone) said, “We probably go further than we would have a dozen years ago because you are looking at the reality that the material is there.”

Speaking from the digital perspective Ronan Harris, Google Europe’s Online Sales Director, confirmed that after the news broke of the shooting large numbers of Irish went searching for pictures of Gaddafi’s death and body.

Journalist and Broadcaster Sinéad Gleeson (@sineadgleeson) described the editorial challenges facing broadcast media on a day-to-day basis, “Mainstream news knows that it cannot compete with the immediacy of online life, so if they’re going to show it they have to up their game and decide that we’re going to show those images and that footage too.”

Journalists on the programme stressed the challenges social media is presenting to the newsroom as reporters try to satisfy people’s curiosity without becoming too graphic in the material they present.

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