Mumbai, Twitter and live updates
There's been discussion of the role played by Twitter in the reporting of the Mumbai attacks and of the way that we made use of it on the BBC News website.
During the crisis, we monitored this microblogging service, along with the material being filed by our own reporters and a wide range of other sources, and referenced or linked to all of these on a "live updates" page as the events unfolded.
Our aim with these pages (we did something similar during the US election) is to provide news, analysis, description and comment in short snippets as soon as it becomes available. It is a running account, where we are making quick judgments on and selecting what look like the most relevant and informative bits of information as they come in, rather than providing the more considered version of events we are able to give in our main news stories of the day.
These accounts move more quickly and include a wider array of perspectives and sources, not all verified by us, but all attributed, so that in effect we leave some of the weighing up of each bit of information and context to you.
During the Mumbai attacks, we gave prominence in our running account to the latest information from our correspondents on the ground, but we also included breaking lines from news agencies, Indian media reports, official statements, blog posts, Twitter messages ("tweets") and e-mails sent in to us, taking care to source each of these things.
Some of the many e-mails we received and the follow-up contacts contributed directly to our reporting, with first-hand accounts of the events including that of Andreas Liveras, who was, sadly, later killed in the violence.
As for the Twitter messages we were monitoring, most did not add a great amount of detail to what we knew of events, but among other things they did give a strong sense of what people connected in some way with the story were thinking and seeing. "Appalled at the foolishness of the curious onlookers who are disrupting the NSG operations," wrote one. "Our soldiers are brave but I feel we could have done better," said another. There was assessment, reaction and comment there and in blogs. One blogger's stream of photos on photosharing site Flickr was widely linked to, including by us.
All this helped to build up a rapidly evolving picture of a confusing situation.
But there are risks with running accounts that we haven't been able to check, and my colleague Rory Cellan-Jones has written about one piece of unsubstantiated information circulating on Twitter which we reported, suggesting that the Indian government had asked for an end to Twitter updates from Mumbai.
Should we have checked this before reporting it? Made it clearer that we hadn't? We certainly would have done if we'd wanted to include it in our news stories (we didn't) or to carry it without attribution. In one sense, the very fact that this report was circulating online was one small detail of the story that day. But should we have tried to check it and then reported back later, if only to say that we hadn't found any confirmation? I think in this case we should have, and we've learned a lesson. The truth is, we're still finding out how best to process and relay such information in a fast-moving account like this.
Is it confusing to have reports from our own correspondents, along with official statements, pictures, video, accounts from other media, bloggers, emails and Twitter, all together on the same page? It's true that normally we separate them out - news stories in one place, correspondents' reports in another, Have Your Say comments and links to blogs somewhere else.
But on a major unfolding story there is a case also for simply monitoring, selecting and passing on the information we are getting as quickly as we can, on the basis that many people will want to know what we know and what we are still finding out, as soon as we can tell them.
So as the story progresses, as one element of the coverage, we will select, link and label the emerging information. Further assessment, equipped with this information, is left to you. At the same time, we will continue to work on writing fuller news stories containing the most definitive and authoritative version of events we have, as established by our own correspondents and newsgathering teams who are there.