Score one for social networking

Facebook and YouTube factored into my reporting this week.

First, there was a 150,000-gallon sewage spill in a local creek.

Then one of my sources posted a video on YouTube and shared the link on Facebook. (I have a “work” Facebook account, separate from my personal Facebook account.)

It shows sewage leaking out from near the pumping station that had the previous sewage spill. It turns out 4,000 gallons spilled out in this second incident.

My source, a former politician running for office again, has raised concerns about how the county government handles zoning and public works issues. He likely made the video to prove a point that the county is again not fulfilling its own requirements for protecting the environment.

Regardless of my source’s opinions or motivations, a 4,000-gallon sewage spill is news. And this was the first I had heard of it. The county never put out a press release or public announcement about the spill.

The news ended up only as a news brief — it’s sad, but true, that 4,000 gallons usually doesn’t merit a full story.

I figure this serves as an example of how newsgathering continues to evolve. When I started out, e-mail was just catching on. Then came blogs, and now Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

I wonder what’s next?

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