Time and time again, student journalists in my college newsroom ask where the value is in Twitter. "It's just another social thing," one guy told me just yesterday.
Then something like this happens and changes everything:
Along with his photo (in fewer than 140 characters) Janis tweeted: "There's a plane in the Hudson. I'm on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy."
And as our mobile phone picture-taking-quaility continues to improve, so will the value in on-the-go journalism. Janis' photo, taken from an iPhone, is far better in quailty than the frame grabs taken from local news stations. His photo was also the first to appear on the web -- and, as usual, I found out about the crash on Twitter before CNN ever sent out my news alert.
There's a lot of talk these days about whether Twitter, blogging and microblogging are the future of journalism. I'm not sure if I'm ready to make that claim, but times like these validate that it's a hell of a supplement.