You Are Editor: Do you ever believe what you see on social media?

There are quite a few black-and-white declarations going on in the comments section of the post last evening about the “homeless hoax” perpetrated on Twitter.

People rightly feel that the news media should have checked out the rumor lie, and they’re right. YahooSports and CBS Sports should have, just as many in local media did.

Simple, right?

We haven’t played You Are Editor in a long time. Let’s play.

Scenario #1: Bana Alabed is a seven-year-old girl tweeting her last moments in Aleppo as government-backed troops moved on the city in their final assault. Her tweets were retweeted and many articles focused on her plight in the world’s media.

Compelling stuff.

Do you run her account in your newspaper/TV/publication?

I didn’t. I couldn’t be sure there really was a Bana Alabed. Social media being what it is, she could’ve been a creation of media-savvy group sympathetic to rebels.

As it turned out, she’s real. And, fortunately, she’s now safe, and I missed a good story.

Scenario #2: Ilhan Omar goes to Washington and posts this on her Facebook page:


Do you run the story based on her Facebook post?

I didn’t since there were no police reports on record and she wasn’t making herself available for questions.

A week ago, she posted a much more detailed account that makes her accusations more verifiable.

And I missed a good story.

Scenario #3 — This is the moment when the world of journalism changed forever.


Flight 1549 lands in the Hudson River and a bystander on a ferry snaps a picture and seconds later it’s on Twitter.

The FAA doesn’t know what’s going on. There’s nothing on the wires about it.

Do you retweet it?