AP Scolds Reporters For Breaking News On Twitter
from the the-scarcity-mentality dept
Every time the Associated Press does something concerning the internet, it seems to just reinforce how out of touch it is. The latest is the bizarre and ridiculous decision to scold AP reporters for daring to tweet out the “news” that they had been arrested. You see, in the minds of AP bosses, they haven’t quite figured out that artificial scarcity isn’t a the same thing as real scarcity. So they think that if a reporter is arrested, the reporter should keep that news hoarded up until the AP itself can release it. But, as anyone who is a frequent Twitter user knows, that’s crazy in a situation like this. Reporter gets arrested, reporter tweets about it. That’s a perfectly reasonable response. But the AP wanted the story for “itself.”
The problem is that the AP is apparently dreadful at chess. It doesn’t think beyond the single move ahead. So, yes, perhaps they don’t get the “break” on the news that an AP reporter was arrested — that goes on Twitter. But is it really that bad? Let’s just play out the scenario. Assume the story goes viral on Twitter. Remember, this is 140 characters, not a full blown article. If the message goes viral, then tons more people are seeing that short message and are curious about the details — the details that aren’t going to show up on Twitter anyway. But having that tweet out there, so it can go viral, means building interest in the story, and from that, it seems like any story would end up receiving more traffic, because the Twitter messages “primed the pump.” I honestly can’t fathom a scenario in which people see the tweets and decide that it acts as a full replacement for the eventual news article.
Mathew Ingram makes a key point on all of this. If a single 140-character tweet is acting as a suitable replacement for your reporting… you’ve got bigger problems:
The other thing the Associated Press needs to think about is that if a 140-character post or two by one of your reporters on Twitter is a threat to your news service, then you have a problem that can?t be fixed by simply enforcing your social-media policies more stringently. This argument feels very similar to the debates that newspapers used to have when they first put up websites ? about whether to post breaking news to their site, or ?save? it for the paper. This was fundamentally a lose-lose situation, as most newspapers discovered, since saving it often involved others breaking the news first on their websites.