Is it more important to be first or to be right when reporting the news? When reporting the news today, to steal a quote from fictional race car driver Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Take for example the sad news of Michael Jackson’s death yesterday. AOL-owned TMZ was the first to report that Jackson had died. And sadly, they did get it right.
You have to wonder whether TMZ really talked to a source, or rather just gambled and got it right. Does it matter? Had TMZ been wrong, we would have forgotten in a couple of hours. Instead, they were mentioned as the source by every news organization (not to mention in thousands of tweets). I’m sure there are thousands of people who had never heard of TMZ before yesterday. [Read more…]