A political scandal caught my eye this week that really demonstrated a shift in online and digital reporting. In a matter of three hours a breaking story on an online gossip site had caused a congressman to resign. Gawker reported that married New York Congressman Chris Lee had sent shirtless photos to a woman on Craigslist, and had the photos to back it up. The story buzzed across social and online media with such vigor that it soon was picked up by traditional outlets and became, in a sense, legitimized.
Gawker’s motto is, “Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news,” and in this case that was indeed true. Investigative reporting is no longer limited to newspapers, but has become the pastime of gossip bloggers and web surfers alike.
This scandal also brings about a topic I often discuss with friends — the notion of a Facebook president. What will happen when the first president who grew up on Facebook (not young adults who signed up in college, but the kids who are avid status updaters at age 13) moves into the White House? Will our expectation of political figure’s conduct shift?
How we behave online will always come back to us. Why did Congressman Lee think any different?