Tim Leberecht suggests that the real message behind the impact of Twitter on coverage of the uprising in Iran is not that Twitter or similar technologies are a replacement for mainstream media, but that their may be a way for them to evolve together in a way that helps define a new future news model.
What if the future of news was Google Wave, as Jeff Jarvis suggests, or other “email cum wikis cum Twitter cum groupware”? “Imagine a team of reporters – together with witnesses on the scene – able to contribute photos and news to the same Wave (formerly known as a story or a page). One can write up what is known; a witness can add facts from the scene and photos; an editor or reader can ask questions. And it is all contained under a single address – a permalink for the story – that is constantly updated from a collaborative team.”
Or is there a news model based on a horizontal comparison of real-time and filtered search (Twitter vs. Google), a la Twoquick? In either case, the aggregators will win (or have already won). The only model that would keep mainstream media in the game would be to combine vertical motion (Twitterfall) with contextual content that is carefully curated: immediacy AND accuracy, intimacy AND authority. Mashable gets it right when it interprets this weekend’s events as an opportunity rather than a swan song for traditional media: “While social media sites are both a source of unfiltered information and a venue for public discussion, we still look to CNN, the BBC and their ilk to add context and meaning to this flood of data. And when they fail us, we demand more of them.“