As you will know if you are a person on the Internet, a lot of the most important details about the shooting in a Colorado movie theatre last Friday have come out through the Internet. We were able to find victims’ Twitter accounts (including that of Jessica Ghawi, who posted enthusiastically right up to the start of the movie), survivors’ stories on WordPress, and one of the few photos of accused shooter James Holmes on Adult Friend Finder.
But these are arguably only the visible outcomes of a distinctly online process of information-gathering: crowdsourced news. A thread on Reddit started by a survivor of the attack became a central clearinghouse for information on the incident, with eyewitnesses showing up to share their stories and answer questions while other users compiled the scattered data points into more comprehensible forms like timelines. They even managed to break news, as Morgan Jones, the aforementioned timeline-maker, was also the one who unearthed the shooter’s picture.