Analysis: Spot and Follow

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The recent story of teen runaway Kara Alongi and the Twitter hoax she created unfolded over a series of several days, which makes it an excellent example of spot and follow.

When the Star-Ledger broke the story late Sunday night, few details were available. The lead told readers that police were searching for Alongi and gave some information about the Twitter explosion that her disappearance had sparked, but there was no information available about who might have entered her house or where she could be.

An update to the original story came later Sunday night, posted below the original text. The update let readers know that police suspected no foul play, a critical piece of information.

Because of the Twitter explosion that occurred, national news outlets soon picked up the story. CBS News posted a story similar to the original Monday morning, with more information about the Twitter aspect of the case.

Several hours later, the story changed. CBS posted a new story, stating that Alongi's tweet was a hoax, and that a taxi was called to her house at approximately the same time as Alongi tweeted her message. This new information drastically changed the lead of CBS's story. Instead of focusing on the fact that Alongi had suspiciously disappeared, the focus of the story is now that she is a runaway who created a hoax.

CBS posted another update Wednesday informing the public that Alongi had returned home. The focus of the lead was that she had returned safely and gave an overview of the case-Alongi's tweet, the Twitter fury that ensued, the hoax, and her return.

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This page contains a single entry by pete8374 published on October 6, 2012 2:13 PM.

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