NBC News Touts Middle Eastern Firefight Via Social Media

No NBC News staffers were harmed while in the midst of a firefight between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in East Jerusalem Wednesday  – but that hasn’t kept the large TV-news organization from spotlighting the event on Twitter and Instagram, as well as with videos on its own website.

Foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin and a team of staffers were caught in the crossfire as Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and hurled stun grenades at Palestinian protesters and journalists.

The dispatches come as most TV-news organizations are placing more emphasis on digital venues, not simply saving the cream of their reportage for the venerable evening news. In February, NBC News unveiled a redesigned digital site that aimed to burnish its staffers’ journalism efforts with more regularity throughout the news cycle, rather than serving as an afterthought for material already presented on TV.

The NBCUniversal unit had been working on the overhaul for about a year, realizing that the previous digital outpost used for NBC News content, MSNBC.com, had been freed from joint oversight with Microsoft and was going to be used more specifically for the cable network with which it is primarily associated.

There is a weightier reason for making the move. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, “Fully 64% of tablet owners say they get news on their devices weekly and 37% report they do so daily.” The dynamic, Pew said in its 2013 report, is “nearly identical for smartphone owners – 62% get news on their device weekly and 36% do so daily.” Pew’s survey also found “31% of tablet news users said they spend more time with news since getting their mobile devices. Another 43% said that the device is adding to the amount of news they consume.”

Below, some of Mohyeldin’s posts on Twitter:

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