Boston bombings: file, tweet, file. Many of us learned about the explosions at the Boston Marathon through social media. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, we awoke to tweets of shock, outrage, sadness, conspiracy and reportage. Or what we thought was reportage. It was truly a display of Twitter journalism, warts and all.
We now know there were two explosions. Three were killed, 176 were injured. No other devices were found, and there are currently no suspects. But that’s not what we were hearing at the time. Several outlets connected a fire at the JKF Presidential Library to the blasts. The Wall Street Journal reported there were “five undetonated explosive devices” around Boston (The Journal has since apologised).
The New York Post reported 12 people had died and a Saudi Arabian national had been identified and was being guarded at hospital. Less than a day later, police ruled out any connection between the man and the bombings. He had simply been a spectator. Not for the first time, the media wasn’t interested in waiting for the dust — and the facts — to settle before publishing. Even respected publications like The WSJ didn’t wait to check their stories on the unexploded devices (and a closer examination made it clear they were not bombs).
And it didn’t stop commentators and politicians from using false reports to their own ends, even after they’d been superseded — Representative Steve King of Iowa used speculation that the suspect was on a student visa to attack bipartisan immigration reform now making its way through Congress. “If we can’t background check people that are coming from Saudi Arabia, how do we think we are going to background check [undocumented immigrants the reforms would give amnesty to],” he told the National Review Online. — Crikey intern Kylar Loussikian
News Corp enters 21 Century. Somewhat oddly, Rupert Murdoch and his mob at News Corporation have abandoned the previously announced “Fox Group Inc” as the name of the content side of the group to be created after the mid-year split in the company, in favour of “21st Century Fox”. Just why the change at this late change wasn’t made clear, but some US media reports spoke of News Corp employing consultants to road test the Fox Group and other names, with the winner to reflect the future, not the past.
But 12 days ago (on April 4), News Corp said in a proxy filing with the US SEC for the publishing company’s spin-off that the Fox Group name would “capitalise on the strength and iconic nature of the Fox brand”, which it already uses for some of its TV broadcast, cable TV channels (such as Fox Sports and Fox 8 in Australia) and film businesses. Now, according to a statement overnight from News, and a memo to staff from Rupert Murdoch, there’s a change:
“21st Century Fox is a name that draws upon the rich creative heritage of Twentieth Century Fox, while also speaking to the innovation and dynamism that must define each of our businesses through the 21st Century. Our new name is inspired by the very first company we acquired nearly thirty years ago as our initial foray into the awe-inspiring world of entertainment.”
The new 21st Century Fox will include: FOX, FX, FXX, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic Channels, Fox Pan American Sports, MundoFox and STAR; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and Shine Group as well as its pay-television services in Europe and Asia, including Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and its equity interests in BSkyB and Tata Sky. — Glenn Dyer
Front page of the day. Australia’s biggest-selling magazine is turning a fairly remarkable 80. The souvenir edition hits news stands today …