Tweeter Was a Witness to Death of Bin Laden; Media Wales Online Communities Editor Ed Walker Assesses the Multimedia Coverage of Osama Bin Laden's Death

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), May 3, 2011 | Go to article overview

Tweeter Was a Witness to Death of Bin Laden; Media Wales Online Communities Editor Ed Walker Assesses the Multimedia Coverage of Osama Bin Laden's Death


ONE tweet about a helicopter hovering across Abbottabad turned out to be about the fire-fight in which bin Laden was killed.

Sohaib Athar came to terms with what he'd actually seen when he watched President Obama's announcement about the killing of bin Laden - and put two and two together.

Mr Athar said later: "Uh oh, now I'm the guy who liveblogged the Osama raid without knowing it."

As news organisations scrambled to cover the event, it was on Twitter where the initial discussions happened.

False rumours flew, but quickly official sources were retweeted as CNN confirmed the story, followed closely by the BBC.

Twitter went into overdrive with the hashtags - the way people group messages around a particular topic - quickly formed for #obl and #osama.

One of the biggest rumours flying around was a photoshopped picture appearing to show the body of Osama bin Laden did the rounds on Twitter.

Posted by @a3Bee it was quickly viewed over 15,000 times but was last night branded a fake by US officials.

Links were also tweeted to bin Laden's "most wanted" profile on the FBI website - with the cheekier users of the micro-blogging website questioning when the information would be taken down.

The difference in how the world's media covered the story online was marked - with Fox News carrying George W Bush's line "A Victory for America", the New York Post website screamed "JUSTICE AT LAST" and the Times of India started the questioning of Pakistan by pointing the finger of suspicion at their intelligence services.

Al Jazeera had a mixed homepage - with the simple headline "Osama bin Laden killed in Pakistan".

It also featured a montage of black and white images, although in a more sensational style the word "dead" was blown up in a special graphic on their top-right hand corner. …

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