Real-time publishing delivers news as it happens. Real-time reporting allows a story to unfold over time, often with new facts superseding prior reports. News consumers, however, cannot be relied upon to follow each story component in sequence. Common hashtags enable a news organization to publish quickly while revealing to the reader the circumstances and the current state of understanding of each piece of a story, as it is published. As an organizing principle and context-setting tool, hashtags have the potential to be incredibly valuable to newsrooms as they compete to become the source of record in real-time news reporting. When used consistently by news organizations, standard hashtags will help readers understand more clearly what is happening around them, what is known to be true, and what is pure speculation.
For example, #breaking would convey that a story is new and potentially incomplete. #unconfirmed would convey that a potentially important fact has become known, but is not yet confirmed to the news organization’s standard. #correction or #rescinded would convey that a prior report has been found to be incorrect. These hashtags travel with a piece of information as it flows through the social stream and can be used by the reader to understand what was known at the time of a report, and infer that additional inquiry may be needed.
Supported by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and led by RJI Fellow Chris Shipley, the project has the additional goal of bringing transparency to the news product and positively impact the public trust in news media.
#ET702 and the Birth of Real-Time Journalism, Chris Shipley, Bubble & Blender
How I Broke the Ethiopian Airlines ET702 Hijacking on Twitter, John Walton, Medium