Thursday, March 01, 2012

Feeling Snarky About Journalism in the Twitter Era

Earlier this afternoon, the word broke on Twitter that Nebraska was looking to hire Tennessee secondary coach Terry Joseph to replace Corey Raymond. First it was Pete Roussel of on Twitter, followed by reporters from the World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star, as well as the hosts on KOZN-1620 the Zone.  The story seemed to be falling into place pretty quickly.  Then just as I was leaving work, came a contrary word from Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald:
From the Nebraska end of DB coach search, I've learned there are "half a dozen" candidates, including Terry Joseph.
And here we go again.  Shades of "Joe Paterno is dead (on Saturday night)".  "Lady Gaga is performing at the Capital One Bowl."  A story goes out on Twitter where it starts repeating as outlet after outlet merely passes on the report (sometimes without attribution to the original source), and sometimes omitting key details. And then after everybody is dead convinced the original story is fact...we then find out that the report was wrong and too many media outlets are left holding the bag.  In the rush to be first, they forgot that it's more important to be right than first.

McKewon's report seemed to squash all the furor over the hiring of Joseph.  Joseph is just a candidate?  Well, once again...people jumped the gun.  Or so I thought...and tweeted at that moment:
At least someone locally still investigates MT I've learned there are "half a dozen" candidates, including Terry Joseph.
A little snarky?  Maybe a whole lot of snarky. Well, Kevin Kugler of 1620-AM radio saw that and felt offended, responding:
We confirmed, while actually doing a show, that Terry Joseph had received an offer. Does that count?

And you know what... it looks like my snarkiness was wrongly placed. Everything still points to Joseph being offered.  He hasn't accepted yet.  I wasn't listening to 1620, so I didn't hear Kugler or co-host Mike'l Severe say they had confirmed the offer.  And that's all it is at this point.  Nobody says that he's hired...just that an offer has been made.  And nobody has rebutted that story at this point either.

My bad.  My only defense is that the quick response and nature of Twitter leads to quick exchanges.  We shouldn't expect total accuracy in coverage of breaking news.  (Anybody remember the Darren Rovell/Richard Sandomir Twitter war last month?)  That applies outside of Twitter.  (Witness storm coverage on our local television stations, for example.)

So yeah... local media guys... looks like you are handling this one right.  This time, I was the guy who ran off half-cocked and was dead wrong.  I was the guy guilty of that which I criticize others for.

Tonight, hypocrite, thy name is Mike.

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