There have been a lot of discussions lately about how the Internet is changing traditional media. Viewpoints from either side tend to await the chance to discredit the other and we end up with story after story about how the Internet is going to be the death of pen and paper news.
It seems though that one group of people has been sorely missed: those who understand that the Internet is a tool for helping them to provide more interactive, better-written traditional media. It is with this in mind that we want to extend congratulations to Cory Haik and The Seattle Times for recent Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage, including the use of Google Wave.
You see, The Seattle Times is one of those organizations that understands how social media and traditional news go hand in hand. When the story broke about four Seattle-area police officers being shot, the Times decided to not only follow the story on their site, but to also get their audience involved by opening a Google Wave for the story.
The Wave allowed for real-time updates, not only from the Times staff, but also from readers. As users of the Wave dug through information across the Internet, evidence sightings, witness reports and school closings were given out immediately.
Cory writes, during a guest post on the Google Wave blog: “Despite the fact that we reached fewer than 500 people and encountered a couple of technical glitches, I’d like to think that using Google Wave was successful. And if the No. 1 rule of social media — or at least my No. 1 rule of social media — is that using it as it’s useful to you is the rule, then I am quite confident it was.”
This is the second time, in recent weeks, that we’ve seen a Pulitzer being awarded for Internet-based news. That being the case, we suppose that kudos are in order for the Pulitzer Organization as well. It takes some bravery to break out of the molds of traditional media and reporting, and even more bravery to recognize when that reporting has set new standards by using available technologies such as Wave.