This week on Inside PR, Joe Thornley, Martin Waxman, and I discuss how two interesting studies – Twitter active users and bit.ly link active length of time – intersect with the departure of Michael Arrington from TechCrunch and the evolution of journalism.

The interesting thing to note is that Twitter shows they have 100 million active users. But, as Fred Wilson points out, there are 400 million monthly unique visitors on Twitter.

Four hundred million monthly uniques.

This statistic, alone, demonstrates the value of Twitter as a newsfeed and we discuss the implications of this on both the fourth and fifth estates.

Then to add a layer, Michael Arrington, who infamously has said he doesn’t care if he’s right, he just wants to be first, was publicly fired from TechCrunch because of ethical concerns around his newly created CrunchFund.

We discuss what this means both for social media and journalism, as we know it.

And to add one more layer, Matthew Ingram blogs that it’s not just nice for media to be social, it’s imperative. He says journalists have become complacent and stopped engaging, assuming their readers will come to them.

In response to Ingram, Dave Weiner argues that journalism is becoming obsolete because it was a response to publishing and it was, but now we can all be distributors. And Ingram responds with saying that it’s not becoming obsolete, but rather, evolving rapidly.

The point of all this back and forth is that, as communications professionals, we need to understand there are profound implications to the way we’re getting our news, how content is being created, and what is being published and distributed.

We discuss how journalism (the fourth estate) is about providing context and expertise and citizen journalists (the fifth estate, or citizen witnesses, as Joe calls them) provide quick information without that context.

And these wonderful discussions are all wrapped up with some exciting news that you’ll want to hang around to hear!

You’ll find the links bookmarked on Diigo as IPR268.

Do you have an idea for a topic you would like us to discuss? Send us an email or an audio comment to [email protected], join the Inside PR Facebook group, leave us a comment here, message us @inside_pron Twitter, or connect with Gini DietrichJoe Thornley, and Martin Waxman on Twitter.

Our theme music was created by Damon de SzegheoRoger Dey is our announcer.

This week’s episode was produced by Kristine Simpson.


  1. On the subject of the Fourth Estate / watchdog journalism, Bob Gibson, Executive Director of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, recently said: “If we don’t have a watchdog function, then we have a lapdog function, and that doesn’t serve the voter very well. We need journalism that goes out and challenges what is being given reporters as the facts. We need to look behind the facts and find out where they’re coming from, and what the interests are of the people who are giving us those facts. Local government and state government and the federal government today are even more than ever in the news business themselves. They are putting out news as if it was the entire package and expecting people to buy it and I think Americans have to be a little bit skeptical and have to look behind where those governments are putting out facts.” (Gibson appeared on the Charlottesville, VA, interview program Politics Matters with host Jan Paynter discussing journalism http://bit.ly/pm-gibson)

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