In Oregon armed individuals took over a federal building and if it wasn’t for Buzzfeed the country might not have known. While their story is really a collage of tweets and videos from locals and journalists, they were still the first national site to put out a comprehensive narrative on the event.
It makes sense that Buzzfeed would be able to push out the first article however, since at their heart all they do is consolidate data and updates from across the web into a cohesive, single, post. And maybe this is what journalism will come to, a collection of individual narratives that get compiled into a larger story.
Most of Buzzfeed’s content on the story comes (this should really be no surprise) from a local paper, The Oregonian. Writers for the Oregonian such as Senior Investigative reporter Les Zaitz
And political reporter Ian Kullgren
have been continuing to bring the most relevant, up to date, content while other outlets, including media sources that focus on this part of the country have fallen short. At the time of my writing this blog, High Country News’, an organization dedicated to the “American West’s environment and communities,” current tweet is:
And time, which promises to bring followers “[b]reaking news and current events from around the globe,” was talking about Donald Trump:
I’m aware that these larger news organization can use their clout and funding to run longer, more in depth, stories than the local outlets after the initial break. For example: High Country News is no stranger to militias and they’ve had journalists embedded with groups that captured amazing stories, but that isn’t helpful to me or anyone else trying to figure out what’s happening right now.
While larger news organizations such as High Country, Time, and the the big TV conglomerates have a responsibility to their viewers and readers to respond with articles that align with their missions and biases, they should at least be retweeting or acknowledging that they’re aware of the events unfolding. Is this putting too much strain on perennially overworked journalists? Maybe. But I’m not going to give my viewership to organizations that are too clunky and unresponsive to break a story when writers like Kullgren and Zaitz are working non-stop and social media gives me, as a reader, the freedom to follow and support them over national syndicates despite the fact that they’re local Oregon journalists and I’m in Brooklyn.