Former Houston Chronicle editor on breaking news: ‘Often AP is behind the game’

In a clip that accompanies the DVD release of “Citizen Hearst,” Houston Chronicle Executive Editor and Executive Vice President Jeff Cohen introduces Sylvia Wood, who was at the time an editor on the Hearst-owned paper’s breaking-news “Go Team” (she left the paper in September and now works for the Houston Independent School District). “Our goal every day is to be fast, first and accurate,” Wood says in the clip, which was filmed last summer, describing her work:

We look at the TV broadcasts, we look at the TV websites. We’re looking at Twitter. Often AP is behind the game when it comes to breaking news; we can get it faster from a lot of other sources. So besides covering the news landscape we’re also looking at what kinds of stories people are talking about. We can do a lot of aggregations on buzzy viral topics that are gonna engage readers with the website. So besides the breaking news, we’re also looking at, What is it that people want to talk about today? What are they going to click on that they want to talk with their friends about?

The clip is part of a special feature called “The State of News,” which looks at just that and features interviews with journalists within and without the Hearst corporation.

Correction: This post originally failed to mention Wood had left the Chronicle since the clip was filmed last year.

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  • Chris Connell

    My money is on AP over the ‘Go Team.’ But I’m biased — and skeptical.

  • ADM Links

    Presented without comment, Andrew? I was under the impression that AP is sometimes a bit behind because they try to confirm with two or more sources before going with something. This is why it was a surprise when (if I recall correctly) they wrongly reported a suspect was in custody in Boston. Other outlets (like CNN, in my view) tend to force trying to be first and don’t confirm properly, and then get it wrong (Boston bombers, Obamacare).