Written by: Enrique Zabala & Eric Steckel
First off, congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, the 2010 World Series Champs. They have brought a lot of joy to the city over the decades, and none more than during the last month as they drove to the playoffs and an eventual championship. With the Giants win last night, the city of San Francisco went to the streets to “celebrate” its first World Series Championship. The streets were teeming with “euphoric” fans. In some cases, the spontaneous party crossed into rowdiness and rioting. It seems that some folks had a different idea of a good time.
Oddly, big media outlets in the Bay Area and across the country largely failed to cover these important events. This morning, The San Francisco Chronicle called it “joyful mayhem” which falls somewhere short of a riot, in case you were scoring at home. MSNBC.com, CNN.com and FoxNews.com failed to report these events at the time. However, as San Francisco is the epicenter of Social Media, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Flickr were burning up with the trending topic. #SFRiot and #SFRiots hashtags were created on Twitter after reports of looting in the Mission district were announced. Users even had the possibility to check-in to different riots in San Francisco. As David Brown asks on Yahoo Sports, “Were they doing it so they could become mayor of a riot, or as a public service? Just to prove they were there if something awful happened?”
Eventually, mainstream media caught the scent and followed the story. Of course, this is not the first time that pictures and news about rapidly changing current events were getting to us faster via Social Media than on TV and online news. The news cycle gets ever more rapid, and we are experiencing a shift in how and from whom we get our news. Again, this is nothing new. However, it seems to me that if the traditional news agencies want to maintain their tenuous toe-hold on journalism, they should not cede ground to citizen journalists by simply ignoring a major story. The riots don’t go away or cease to have existed if you fail to report on them. Some folks on Twitter and Facebook will be sure of that!