With its coverage of the first Gulf War now over two decades ago, CNN changed the way we consume the news. Around the clock, neatly groomed anchors delivered up-to-the minute updates, including live footage, from the conflict overseas. It was groundbreaking stuff, for a world accustomed to nightly newscasts and morning newspapers.
News delivery has since become web-driven, but of late the ubiquitous micro-blogging application Twitter has become the go-to delivery tool for up-to-the-second breaking stories. From last year’s Egyptian Revolution in Tahrir Square to Whitney Houston’s recent demise, Twitter is the new frontline for those who need the news now.
Here are five of the Twitterverse’s most trusted voices in the political/current events arena.
Blake Hounshell @blakehounshell
Followers: 35, 886
Sample Tweet: “Egyptians talk about varieties of tear gas like Californians talk about wine.”
The Qatar-based Blake Hounshell is Foreign Policy magazine’s managing editor. Few on Twitter have his knack for landing under-reported/developing news stories, from uprisings in the Arab world to China’s unsavory tactic of interrogating journalists’ children to WikiLeaks dissected line by line.
Breaking News @BreakingNews
Followers: 3,762, 117
Sample Tweet: “Canadian ski team says Nick Zoricic has died after crashing in World Cup skicross event”
One problem with Twitter is that much of the so-called news is unsubstantiated, if not just plain untrue. With millions of followers, Breaking News is one of the web’s most reliable sources, scanning wire services, RSS feeds, You Tube and live video feeds 24/7 to unearth and confirm international events.
Steve Paikin @spaikin
Followers: 21, 807
Sample Tweet: “i saw police brutality tonight. it was unnecessary. they asked me to leave the site or they would arrest me. i told them i was dong my job.”
Steve Paikin is the host of the Canadian current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin. On the hour-long show, Paikin delivers in-depth analyses of the social and politic issues shaping Canada, and comes off dry and humourless. Confined to a more succinct format, though, he’s quite the hard-hitting journalist. During Toronto’s G20 riots in 2011, he reported from the frontlines, tweeting reports of police brutality and barely escaping arrest.
Andrew Coyne @acoyne
Followers: 27, 008
Sample Tweet: “Lowering the voting age is an utterly loopy idea. If anything, it should be raised, I’m thinking to 35.”
Andrew Coyne is an award-winning political columnist and television commentator. A one-time national editor for Maclean’s and current columnist with the National Post, Coyne is a provocateur whose contrary views have many a time landed him in hot water (famously, a pro-Palestinian party permanently hacked his website). His Twitterfeed’s no exception. Go here to watch hot buttons being pushed.
Jon Stewart @TheDailyShow
Followers: 674, 454
Sample Tweet: “It’s 10:55. Considering the rhetoric on Iran, why not watch The Daily Show while you still can? #WereAllGonnaDie.”
Reading about the impending apocalypse 140 characters at a time got you down? On his Twitter feed, comedian Jon Stewart and his self-described Best F#@king News Team Ever riff on current events and American politics, and post highlights from each evening’s Daily Show. Sadly, Stewart’s jokes are more penetrating then the so-called news reporting common to network television.
Image courtesy of Omar Robert Hamilton.