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Five “fearless” journalists plan to hole up in a French farmhouse with nothing but Twitter and Facebook to connect them to the outside world. This breakthrough method of modern science will surely reveal all the newsgathering secrets of social networking. Right.

Somewhere, someone at the Onion is asking themselves: “Why didn’t I think of that?

As was already pointed out on J-Source, the experiment will likely reveal more about the group’s social idiosyncrasies and the quality of their individual Twitter accounts (you can tell everything about a person’s news feed by who their friends are). In the same article, Mathew Ingram defies the whole process for its single-source look at a complex news industry.

Are we journalists so desperate in our ignorance of social networking tools that we must devise farcical stunts in hopes of accidentally learning something? The answer is an unfortunate and unequivocal yes.

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About the author

Katie Hewitt was the Head of Research for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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