The Guardian (US Edition) uses social media, such as twitter, to alert its readership to developments in breaking news stories as those developments are occurring.
For all the non-tweeters out there, Twitter is a social media site that allows its users to post “updates” that are 140 characters in length. These “updates” can range from “wow, this taco truck is awesome! #vivaletaco!” to “wow, what is up with our government?”
It is much faster to pump out an 140 character tweet than it is to write, layout, and print a front page story that will run in the next morning’s paper. As a result, the Guardian and other news outlets are turning to twitter, one of the quickest means of spreading a story, to get the news out.
In the case being displayed in the above picture, the publication has taken a traditional newspaper headline and converted to a twitter-friendly format. Here we see that the headline is actually attached to a completed story on the publication’s website; however, various news outlets, when breaking a breaking story, will forge an actual story in favor of simply tweeting the main points of a story in order to keep readers as up to date as possible on the story as it breaks.
The Guardian US also adds a unique spin to its coverage by including op ed pieces about various breaking news stories, which give the publication’s readership something to mull over and add a more human prospect (as in “this is what an actual human thinks!”) about some of its stories. Here we see an op ed piece about the history of corporations co-opting social movements for profit.