Interestingly enough, CNN was once considered to be the provider of the most instantaneous, real-time news. If something was happening in the world, you could tune into CNN to get the latest details.
Today, that comes from Twitter.
Yesterday, as the news of Michael Jackson's emergency situation and eventually his death unfolded, Twitter was blowing up with Michael Jackson-related tweets, with people asking for, as much as sharing, details about his condition. When the reports started coming in that Jackson had died - first from TMZ, then from the LA Times, CBS News and the Associated Press - those tweets were being re-tweeted and re-tweeted all across Twitter.
CNN, in the meantime, continued to report that Jackson was hospitalized.
I'll give CNN this much credit: It eventually started informing its viewers about what the other news outlets were reporting, that Jackson had died, though it was waiting for official confirmation before putting up the big headline. That's responsible journalism and they deserve some credit for that.
Still, as the events unfolded yesterday, I couldn't help but think back on how CNN became the poster child for real-time, on-demand news when it first entered the news scene. And now Twitter, which isn't even a news outlet, is disrupting that.
Twitter may be filled with gossip and incorrect information as people re-tweet any and all information they happen to find. But you can't deny that, when it comes to instantaneous news, Twitter allows us to tap into the reporting skills of the masses, not just the professionals who give us the news as it becomes "official."