Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson reported dead - late night

The first sign I saw that there was something seriously wrong with Michael Jackson last night was on Twitter. At about 10.30pm UK time people were starting to say that he was in a coma ... and some were saying he was dead.

An hour later, there was an absolute storm of tweets, but what was most interesting was that the initial story was broken by the LA Times newspaper on its website and virtually every tweet was about whether or not traditional media outlets had or had not confirmed Michael Jackson's death.

Person after person came on to say that this outlet had confirmed it, or that one had not. And they were not talking about blogs or Twitter, they were scouring the newspaper and TV sites. The story seemed to be accepted only when the LA Times confirmed it.

I'm not sure what that says, but it says something!

I got calls from our chief photographer, Jason Senior, at about 11.30 telling me that national news agencies were confirming the death. Deputy Editor Richard Bettsworth was still in the office and after various conversations, he called the chief sub, Matt Sulley, back into the office and began redoing Page 1 for tomorrow, despite the fact that the news had yet to be confirmed. I updated the website based on the LA Times article.

It will be interesting to see how many of the morning papers have the news tomorrow ...