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recalled. “I had to push control F to get the

Athar, inadvertently tweeted everything that

cursor to move up the page.”

he was experiencing; consequently, social me-

“I even remember registering for classes by

dia’s role was transformed in the process.

phone,” she reminisced. “Way back in the

Back in May of 2011, two days after Osama

Dark Ages.”

Bin Laden’s death, Burns joined Fox 13’s

The tall, enthusiastic PR professor with bouncy shoulder-length blond hair did anything just then but age herself when one considers

“Good Day Tampa Bay” to talk about the phenomenal transformation of social media in news coverage.

that Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are all

“It is a very small world and news is travel-

still relatively new and in good, well, let’s be

ing faster than ever before,” Burns said on the

honest - spectacular condition. I will also point

morning program. “The death of Bin Laden hit

out that there is no return-to-sender in sight.

America’s news channels on Sunday evening.

With restaurants, as well as clothing and apparel stores, all having their own Facebook accounts, it is no big surprise that social media has gained a presence when it comes to

Let us say that someone was asleep at the time and woke up and watched the news and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to tweet this,’ everyone would say, ‘We already know.’”

coverage of world news. News organizations

Facebook launched in 2005, four years af-

now have their own Facebook and Twitter

ter 9/11. Who knows how different that time

sites. Even more so, the common bystander is

would have been if America was as connected

the one breaking a story.

then as we are now.

That is what happened with the death of

“My first semester teaching was 2001, the

Osama Bin Laden. A man in Pakistan, Sohaib

year the twin towers were hit,” said Burns.


Bullhorn Issue 1  

University of South Florida School of Mass Communications alumni magazine

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