Violet Skyye tweeted this image of a fire truck stuck in a sinkhole in front of her house last week. But you can’t believe everything you see on Twitter, but that didn’t stop me from compiling and blogging all 15 of her photos in my “just for fun” side project. Without verification of the incident, I might not have even retweeted that great photo.
Skyye’s tweet passes six of eight methods Craig Kanalley suggests to verify a tweet, but searching for the name “Violet Skyye” didn’t return any solid results and my attempt to reach out to Skyye via Twitter yielded no results.
Thankfully, the L.A. Times did some reporting and blogged about the incident. Through one blog post, I found that the two occupants of the truck were not injured and that the incident took place in Valley Village sometime before 5:30 on Tuesday, 2½ miles away from another water main failure.
The basic information you expect in an article can’t be found in Skyye’s stream of tweets, and that is absolutely fine. I am very thankful that she documented the event, but she is not paid to answer the questions that reporters are paid to answer on a daily basis. That is where journalists can add value, as the Times demonstrated with one blog post.
Still, I am about 99.9% sure Skyye’s pictures are legitimate. If you are a journalist, would you have retweeted that first picture? Would you have added it to a story or blog post before your photographer arrived at the scene?