Anthony Hilton: Objective journalism is Tough in the Twitter age


Early Wednesday found me head-to-head with Paul Lewis, of BBC Moneybox fame, at a breakfast-time debate organised by Cicero, a communications agency, about whether social media was killing journalism.

Paul is a great fan of it and has 60,000 or so followers on Twitter; I am a sceptic and don’t tweet.

There is no doubt Twitter has made journalists’ life easier – it is used as a news feed in addition to the long established agencies, and is great for locating people with special interests for case studies and so on. The PR industry loves it too, because it opens up so many new ways for it to seek to mould opinion.

But making journalists’ life easier is not the same as making journalism better. Too often the reaction to an event on social media is a tide of emotion which sweeps all before it.

The immediacy of its message works against the considered thought and reflection which we actually need to deal with today’s complex issues. What we feel is no substitute for what we think, but increasingly that is how positions are taken and decisions are made.