On verge of teacher strike, Chicago turned to social media

Columbia Journalism Review

ON MONDAY NIGHT [October 10, 2016] IN CHICAGO, more than 300,000 children and their families waited to find out whether teachers from the nation’s third largest school district would strike in the morning. As the clock ticked toward a midnight deadline to reach a deal, the city’s education reporters watched from a downtown conference room, where union leaders were reviewing an offer from the city’s appointed Board of Education.

Because it was so late, the story unfolded on social media, where reporters shared photos and streamed video, engaged with parents and teachers, and tried to verify rumors in real time. It was a fascinating show of just how powerful social media has become for reporting local stories and for taking readers and viewers behind the scenes for an intimate look at how government works. On Periscope and Facebook Live, every report became an informal version of the late-evening news.


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