It helps to envision modern journalism as a kind of video game. If you’re part of the Internet media, everything you put out into the world comes with its own scoring system. Tweets are counted by retweets and favorites, stories are scored by page views and Facebook likes. A writer’s reach and influence is visible right there, in the number of his followers and the number of “influencers” who subscribe to his or her feed. If you’re wondering why so many writers and journalists from such divergent backgrounds would feel the need to instantly tweet out unconfirmed information to their followers, all you have to do is think of the modern Internet reporter as some form of super Redditor — to be silent is to lose points. To be retweeted is to gain them. We do it for the ‘karma’.
Jay Caspian Kang analyses the lessons learnt about “dysfunctional co-dependence” between new and old media by the suicide of Sunil Tripathi, wrongly identified as one of the Boston bombers.