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A new wave of reporters - the public


With the nation’s interest glued firmly on news this week that a Qatar Airways plane was being escorted into Manchester Airport by an RAF jet, due to a possible device on board, traditional news outlets found themselves playing back seat to the medium of Twitter.

Brit passenger @JoshHartley_ was among the first to break live news on the story via the social media channel, with his live Tweets driving the media commentary of the event.

With the real time nature of social media, news agencies were quickly made aware of his unique position, and subsequently used his Twitter feed as the main source for the story, even making contact via Twitter to secure phone interviews with him whilst he was still sat on the plane.

Gone are the days of learning of ‘breaking news’ on drive-time radio programmes or the 10 o’clock news, that’s now considered old hat. Social media provides an instant hit, delivering immediate accounts of any event; with us, the public, now the reporters, and the media using the information we share to form their news reports.

Testament to the power of social media, Josh, the on-the-ground reporter (or should that be in the air reporter?) of the awful hoax has since seen an increase of over 6,000 followers to his Twitter account, becoming an online sensation both here and across the pond in the US.

As PRs we already utilise Twitter as a way of headlining news for the day, so it seems only natural that the media evolves how it utilises social media too – perhaps one day making journalists out of every man and woman in the street.


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