I first learned of the bombings at the Boston Marathon from a tweet. The same is true for the explosion in Texas and the pursuit of the Boston bombers. In typical Gen-Y form, I consume news in non-traditional ways–regularly scanning my Twitter feed and going there first for news. For example, the ground shakes and I check Twitter to confirm if I just experienced an earthquake.
However, after scanning my regular Twitter and Facebook sources for updates on the Boston attack, I craved more information and did something I almost never do anymore; I turned on the TV to watch the news.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that TV isn’t already a big part of my life. From the day I learned my ABCs watching Sesame Street, I knew the illuminating tube was something special. In the past few years, however, the way I watch TV has evolved. I no longer live and die by the primetime lineup the way I did when Friends aired new episodes (Thursdays at 8 p.m. were for Ross and Rachel only).
Nowadays, I record programs for later viewing or will exclusively engage with one series at a time, watching episode after episode (commercial-free and streamed from the internet to my iPad). Some claim cable is dead, but TV is still king (as ad rates prove). It’s just the format for television consumption that is changing.
In a crisis, I appreciate TV’s dedication to straight-forward, real-time journalism, minus the editorial. In contrast, my Twitter feed at the time of the Boston bombing was a mash-up of personal vents, speculation and poorly timed auto-scheduled tweets from companies I follow. So when blindsided with breaking news, I (like many of my Gen-Y peers) still turn to TV, my old friend and trusty companion, where I find comfort in the personal interviews, facts, investigative tone and expert dialogue that only live news can bring.
It’s not just me that has evolved. Television has grown up quite a bit too. Programs and networks are fully integrating Twitter for real-time conversation and offering exclusive content on other platforms. TV executives and advertisers understand an increasing number of people are no longer passively watching TV, but are also monitoring a “second-screen” to enhance content as it airs.
The American people unite over information every day, across multiple platforms. Kudos to those in the media–either on the front lines or behind the scenes–who work tirelessly during a crisis to bring us the most up to date news.
Hang in there, everyone. Things are bound to get better. Just stay tuned.
Young, 31, is an account supervisor at Fineman PR. She’s the daughter of Paul Karpowicz, Meredith Local Media president.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.