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Director of News and Programming
Award winning journalist Gary Baumgarten hosts the News Talk Online show on He asks critical questions, and invites people from all around the world to talk directly to his newsmaker guests using Paltalk's voice over IP technology. Gary came to Paltalk as director of news and programming from CNN where he was the radio bureau chief and correspondent in New York for a decade, where he covered, among other things, the 9/11 attacks in New York and Hurricane Katrina. He was previously reporter and assistant news director at CBS all news radio station WWJ in Detroit. Prior to that he was managing editor at Detroit Radio News Service and a reporter for the Jackson (MI) Citizen-Patriot, the Detroit News and a number of weekly newspapers. Paltalk is the largest multimedia interactive program on the Internet with more than 4 million unique users. News Talk Online is also syndicated by CRN Digital Talk Radio to cable systems serving an additional 12 million households.


DECEMBER 7, 2011 7:40PM

Facebook the new town crier?

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The other day  I covered a horrific tragedy in Bayonne, New Jersey.

A domestic dispute - the guy walked into the house, opened fire and shot four people - three fatally - before turning the gun on himself.

As I said, a horrible, horrible story.

I got right on it, arriving while the scene was still "fresh." A small crowd had gathered. Looking for some immediate information I polled the gawkers.

"Do you know the people in that house? Did you see what happened?"

Answer: "No, I don't live on this block. I'm here because it's already on Facebook."

On Facebook?

Maybe 20, maybe 30 people, gathered at this tragic scene. Not because they have any direct connection with any of the people. But because they got the word on Facebook.

It's one thing to read about how social media motivates people - as in the Arab Spring demonstrations. It's another to see it in action.

And it's a bit humbling. That people are not just turning to the Internet for news. But to Facebook, of all places - at least for the initial burst of raw information.

I've been scooped before, of course. But never before by a program designed to keep in touch with friends.

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bayonne, facebook

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Just as a matter of curiosity, is this gathering involved with real concern or are these people merely fascinated by grisly human tragedies and getting some sort of salacious satisfaction by rushing to the scene?