Perhaps Twitter spats about breaking news have diminished the value of 'breaking news'

On Friday, my coworker Steve Myers mercilessly catalogued the Twitter-based bickering about the 26 seconds that separated Reuters and The New York Times "breaking" the news that Rich Ross had left Disney studios. He asked that readers give his story "the attention it deserves, unless someone has beaten me by 30 seconds with his version." Jay Rosen called those "ego scoops" and provided a handy taxonomy of scoopage.
>>One hour and 24 minutes later, Slate's Dave Weigel wrote about how the term "breaking" has lost all meaning w/r/t news: It appeals to the "lizard brain" but generally signifies nothing that is, in fact, breaking.

• It isn't just the press in which Americans are losing faith: Few institutions have gained trust in Gallup polling over the past decade, with the presidency and banks falling much further in estimation than the press.

• One thing you can believe in: Time magazine copy editor Dan Adkison kicked the stuffing out of his "Jeopardy" competitors on Friday. (Previously: Adkison wins two nights on ‘Jeopardy,’ returns tonight; Did ‘Jeopardy’-crushing copy editor make — gasp — a grammatical error?)

• Speaking of language: Jen Doll would like to eliminate several words from The New Yorker: "coöperate," "focussing" among them. (If I could eliminate anything from linguistic practice, it would be the godawful editorial "we," as seen in this post's headline: "Words We Would Eliminate From 'The New Yorker.'")

• Gawker Media's new commenting system still hasn't rolled out, so the masses have been forced to consume news without posting their own reactions all weekend. Mathew Ingram wrote that what Gawker honcho Nick Denton was trying to do was not reform commenting but turn "the traditional story model on its head. While many outlets treat comments and the discussion around a story as an afterthought, something that gets tacked on once the story is finished, Denton said he sees it not only as the beginning of the story — but as the most important part. He said he even wants to take the discussion around a story that editors at Gawker engage in via private IMs and chats and make all of that public, as a way of sparking discussion." Denton is not saying what the new system will entail, but Dave Winer is hoping the new system will help readers achieve nirvana.

• Not nirvana: A writer and two editors are leaving the Rochester University Reporter after someone noticed plagiarism in two articles.

Quickly: Arianna Huffington talked about HuffPo's Pulitzer. And people paid tribute to Christopher Hitchens. Alfred Hermida analyzed Andy Carvin's Twitter coverage of the Arab Spring.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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