We like to think of ‘news’ as being something isolated, objective. It happens and we report on it. It exists over there, somewhere. We are mere observers.
Well, not quite. These days, we make our own news. A rumour starts – on Twitter, let’s say. A reader, curious, searches official news sites. Nothing. Questions it, out loud. The rumour circulates. Develops. Mutates. Suddenly the rumour itself is news.
It’s the old ‘tree falling in a forest’ argument. Does it make a sound if no-one is there to hear it?
The answer is: it doesn’t matter. Whether or not the tree makes a sound – or falls in the first place – is secondary to what kind of story we can create from a simple question. From uncertainty. From fear.