Pointless Journalist Fight: Who Gets Credit For Tweeting A Story First?

from the get-over-yourselves dept

One thing I always find particularly silly in the mainstream media is when they claim "exclusive" on a story. News is not "ownable," and the second someone gets a story out, that news is out there and the facts are available to anyone else. So every time I see publications claim "exclusive!" it makes me laugh. It may be exclusive for a few seconds, at best. But, old school journalists seem to get really really picky about those things, as evidenced by this particularly stupid argument over who gets "credit" for a story. It seems that the NY Times and Reuters both had reporters working on the story, and the NYTimes tweeted the news out about 26 seconds before Reuters did -- but the Reuters reporter is still demanding credit -- first claiming (incorrectly) that he tweeted it first, but then noting (correctly) that they published first. The simple fact is that no one cares, other than a couple of journalists. No one keeps score, and no one owns the news. After all, if we have to go back to the "original" source, then wouldn't it be the person the story is actually about?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:54am

    I claim credit for first comment.

    Its Mine I tells ya.

    Mine Mine Mine Mine MINE!

     

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      Josef Anvil (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:12am

      Re:

      You WROTE the first comment, but I THOUGHT about writing the first comment FIRST.

      So actually its MINE.

       

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        G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:26am

        Re: Re:

        but... but...

        mommy!!!!!!!!!!!

         

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          Jose_X, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:25pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Cheer up.

          A) The first to publish gets 12,370 years of monopoly exclusion + 4 lifetimes extra for each sperm or egg cell in his/her body at application time. Next time, please let Mr. Anvil enjoy his 15th minute.

          B) Mike's electronic order dispatcher did not screw you order.

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:54am

    Ownerable news

    There's one kind of news that's ownerable - news created from the void to amuze reader. It doesn't base on fact and therefore author certainly qualifies to hold the copyright to the story.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 12:59am

    Of course journalists can own an exclusive.
    No one would have ever heard about Watergate without Woodward and Bernstein. Without investigative journalists like them, stories wouldn't exist.

     

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      G Thompson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:06am

      Re:

      This "story' was not something they investigated, in fact it was about a Disney Exec stepping down, probably something that the Board (and maybe Stock Exchange/SEC) knew before Reporters.

      The story was a "fact" that was going to be public knowledge whether it was reported on or not (Disney is a Public Company)

      So they don't 'own' the story. It's not exclusive, since it is a fact, and the story would of existed (since they are not a part of it) whether they wrote about it or not.

       

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        Dionaea (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 1:31am

        Re: Re:

        Thanks for telling, I was wondering about this. If it's not even something they had to work for that makes the story all the more ridiculous.

         

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      Richard (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:03am

      Re:

      No one would have ever heard about Watergate without Woodward and Bernstein. Without investigative journalists like them, stories wouldn't exist.

      As it turned out a whole raft of people knew about the story (from the actual burglars right up to the president) and that was sort of the point.

      Woodward and Bernstein certainly did the public a great favour by bringing it into the public domain but they didn't create the story.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:19am

      Re:

      If only journalists still held to the standard of investigative journalism as they existed back then, you may have a point. Sadly, most "journalism" nowadays is more likely to consist of repackaged press releases, gossip and reposted AP reports than any real journalism.

      We're no longer discussing investigative journalism, we're talking about who can tweet some barely-investigated "story" less than 30 seconds before the competition can. Woodward and Bernstein, these people are not.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:25am

      Re:

      You can't own facts. That creates a very dangerous slippery slope that will eventually get someone killed.

      Just imagine that someone owned the exclusive rights to report on an impending natural disaster that had the potential to kill thousands. Now imagine that that someone cared more about milking this for money than they cared about saving people*. Yeah, you're in for a nice mess.


      * See war/natural disaster coverage to see what I mean

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:47am

      Re:

      No one would have ever heard about Watergate without Woodward and Bernstein


      But the moment that they published the story it was no longer "exclusive".

       

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    jakerome (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:02am

    *dons flame-resistant suit*

    OK, here's the truth. And it applies even more strongly to that awful Politico story pertaining to CISPA, http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120425/13580618658/stupid-politics-as-usual-to-drive-cispa-narrat ive.shtml

    Most reporters aren't that smart. They aren't that clever. They can write well. But critical thinking skills are sorely lacking, but they have total confidence in their ability to examine an issue for minutes and understand just as well as experts who have studied the issue for years. They don't.

    Reporters are uniformly wrong in every story they write, I would guess 99% of newspaper stories contain at least one factual error of significance. The quotes are cherry picked to pick the pre-defined narrative determined by the writer within 5 minutes of crossing the story. There is no reflection, no reexamination. And given the general lack of critical thinking ability, the problem only escalates. They use the power of the pen & their strong writing ability to distort reality to fit their own biases.

    They are so often wrong, so many concerned with being first instead of write, and writing for their peers instead of the public. Of course, there are many good writers. But in print (and in many blogs), what passes for "journalism" is simply pasting together a few quotes and sprinkling in some analysis that exists solely in the writer's imagination. That two writers get into a pissing contest about who reprinted a press release faster tells you all you need to know.

    The web has exacerbated the issue, not so much because of the short attention span of the readers but because of the false belief of formerly reliable news outlets that every item of news must be updated every second.

    There is STILL great investigative journalism, maybe as much as ever. But the middle ground-- small investigative pieces, solidly researched news stories-- seem all but gone.

     

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      Richard (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:13am

      Re: *dons flame-resistant suit*

      You are right - and this is nothing new - anyone who had first hand knowledge of a story that has appeared in the press will testify to just how inaccurate they are.

      This is not a trivial issue either. It ruins the lives of innocent people. A couple of years ago there was a very distreesing case in the Uk of a young woman who disappeared over the Christmas period and was found dead a few days later. The police - being systematic - made a thorough investigation of all the people close to her, including her landlord. The press latched onto this individual as a likely suspect and started running stories that painted him as some kind of weird monster figure. Most of the information they used had at best a little truth in it - and some was competely fabricated.

      A week or two later the police homed in on the real culprit but the damage was already done. Strangely the press never really went to town on the real killer like they had on this innocent bystander.

      The poor man has now had substantial compensation from the press - but he has had to change his appearance and his life has been wrecked. "Oddly" the press have not spent anything like as much newspaper real estate on apologising for their errors as they did on the original story.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: *dons flame-resistant suit*

        I think this is important enough to give names & links for those outside of the UK who might be unfamiliar with the case.

        Basically, in their typical style, The Sun and other tabloids needed to run stories on a controversial murder. The murder of Joanna Yeates ticked all the usual boxes - she was young, white, middle-class, educated, photogenic and was found dead on Christmas Day. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Joanna_Yeates

        Given all of this, they had to keep reporting on the case, as these people usually do, and latched on to Chris Jeffries, her landlord. He was arrested on suspicion of her murder but released on bail after questioning. He was later released from bail and no charged with any wrongdoing.

        However, the tabloids had a field day. They dragged him through the mud, making allegation after allegation, running front page stories with nothing but innuendo based on 2nd or 3rd-hand accounts of his personality. While they did eventuially apologise (at the Leveson Inquiry, so probably not something they're usually run in print - http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jan/24/leveson-inquiry-sun-christopher-jefferies), the man's life was destroyed despite having ndone nothing wrong other than rent a flat to a girl who fell victim to a crime unrelted to him.

        This is far from the first time these papers have done such things, and sadly I doubt it will be the last. I can only hope that in the race to get things out "first" and apologise later, the sheen of respectability these tabloids seem to have disappears. Until there's an effective press complaints body that actually does something to deter such things, I doubt it, but hopefully the results of the Leveson Inquiry will make these people more accountable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leveson_Inquiry

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: *dons flame-resistant suit*

        Anyone who had first hand knowledge of a story that has appeared in the press will testify to just how inaccurate they are


        I can vouch for that. I've been on the "inside" of three or four major stories reported in highly respected, award-winning newspapers. None of the stories were controversial or politically sensitive.

        All of them were so riddled with errors in even basic facts that they opened my eyes and made me realize that news reporting simply cannot be blindly trusted.

         

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      Lord Binky, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:12am

      Re: *dons flame-resistant suit*

      So?

       

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    Boo Boo, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 2:32am

    He who can tap out his ' story ' fastest on his Twitter app gets the gold :) BlackBerry v iPhone v NoteBook v Android .
    Ready , steady, GO !

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:42am

    I would have been awesome if this article were titled with the useless EXCLUSIVE some sites believe is actually relevant.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 4:49am

    My daddy will beat yo daddy!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:35am

    "Woodward and Bernstein certainly did the public a great favour by bringing it into the public domain but they didn't create the story."

    Of course they created the story! You think that poor innocent Nixon and his people would have broken the law if Woodward and Bernstein hadn't reported about Watergate?

    Once they reported it, poor Nixon HAD to break into Watergate, just to show he was a tough guy who COULD do it. Can you imagine how disappointed Nixon’s supporters would have been if he hadn’t done it, and they realized how weak and scared of the law he was? Nixon couldn't let that happen!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:46am

      Re:

      You seem to be confused between 'a story' and a criminal event (break in).
      The journalists created the story, but the event had already happened.
      Many events happen that we don't hear about immediately, or even at all, and investigative journalists are responsible for making sure we hear about these events.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:43am

    It always makes me LOL when I see Pirate Mike whining about stuff like this. Considering Mike has made his life's work to be just the idiotic repackaging of other people's work, of course he wants to downplay the importance of who broke a story first. And of course, when Mike does happen to have something that others don't, he tags it with things like "Breaking News." E.g., http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111208/08225217010/breaking-news-feds-falsely-censor-popular-blog -over-year-deny-all-due-process-hide-all-details.shtml

    Now, Mike is trying to turn this whole thing into being about ownership. Ownership is a legal term of art, and it's not applicable here. All I see that they want is credit for having broken the story first. Of course, copycats like Mike don't care about that stuff. No reason for Pirate Mike to whine about it though. Just go about copying other people's hard work, Mike. No need to be such a whiny bitch about what other people do. God, you'll whine about ANYTHING.

     

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      abc gum, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 5:55am

      Re:

      LOL - that was a good one. Played just like the typical troll.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:32am

      Re:

      God, you'll whine about ANYTHING.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:57am

      Re:

      "Now, Mike is trying to turn this whole thing into being about ownership."

      Yes, Mike's doing this, not the news agencies arguing about it... :rollseyes: He blgos about a report of something other people are doing, and you still manage to turn it into a personal vendetta.

      "Just go about copying other people's hard work, Mike."

      Once again, I assume you have a citation for when he's done this?

      For someone complaining about whining, you sure do a lot of whining...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re:

        Ugh! How many times? AC's don't need citations! Posting something from an anonymous account is proof enough of its veracity. What is it with you people?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re:

        Ugh! How many times? AC's don't need citations! Posting something from an anonymous account is proof enough of its veracity. What is it with you people?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 10:51am

      Re:

      This is a discussion site, not a news site. Mike brings up news pieces that interest and are relevant to him or the readers. He gives his views on things, and then... we discuss! Amazing how that works, isn't it? You're not even Statler or Waldorf, though. You're the annoying infant in the back that won't stop crying. Mama needs to give you a bottle and tuck you in far away from the adults.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:01am

    lol news? media? i don't know what that is. unless you're talking about the reality tv shows on cnn, fox, and msnbc.

     

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    Lirodon, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 6:35am

     

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    Lord Binky, Apr 26th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Who cares if he tweeted it first, I want to know who wrote in on a napkin first. Even better, who heard it first, and then snitched like a dirty rat.

     

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