Archive for September, 2010

Does the race to be first hurt the media?

The last month or so of MMA news has led me to wonder. What is the price of jumping to break a story and getting it wrong? Or at least getting it partially wrong? Now I’ll be the first to say that I am far from a pro media outlet. I RT new on twitter like a mad man and randomly through my opinion out. Even if people are not listening. I do however know what I expect from the professional media. I know that I want the facts. I want what is known about the current issue. Your style of telling the facts is irrelevant to me. I have my preferred style(I like a bit of humor) but really its the facts that matter. And that brings me to the reason I am writing this. The race to be the first source of some new bit of breaking news and what this does to both your credibility as a writer and to the MMA community as a whole. I as a fan follow multiple news outlets for a ton of different reasons. I do indeed want MMA news as quickly as I can get it. But does breaking a story first make me spend more time on your site versus another? Not a chance. I’ll read your bit of breaking news and move on. There are so many credible MMA news sites out there that it would be stupid for an obsessed fan like myself to hang around just one hoping that since they broke this story first they are going to get all of the others. That brings up another question. Am I the only one who thinks like this? And if I am not and a lot of us think the way I do then why the rush to break things first? Money? Notoriety? If that’s the case then that actually drives me away from your site. I want to spend a short time there getting what I need and move on. I’d rather have a site who gets there second but actually cares about the information they give to fans. Quality is more important to me, the fan, than being first. Anyways back to the race.
What happens when you break news first. You get a boost in clicks for a few hours(days?). Yay, happy time for you. Good job here is a cookie. Maybe I’ll come back. But now lets pretend your story was not complete. Your news turns out to be missing a bit. For example. Lets say you just stated: Huge Johnson was arrested at school for picking up kicks. My first reaction as a fan would be, holy shit Huge Johnson is a pedophile! But a bit later the rest of the story gets out. As it turns out Huge Johnson actually got arrested at his son’s school while waiting to pick him up. Apparently he had 600 unpaid parking tickets and the police finally caught him. Now my reaction as a fan is this: that first news site is full of shit. They made me think Hugh Johnson not only had a funny name but he was also a pedo. Fuck them I’m never going back to their site. See the parallels with a certain current situation? A lack of information lead to the tarnishing of a good guys name(his lively hood), you know apart from him and his parking issues. Point is that despite you being first the quality of the information you put out turned out to be incomplete and gave me a totally wrong idea of the situation. So when it comes to sources for my news your on my shit list.
Now using the same story lets pretend you saw the first bit of news(Huge Johnson was arrested at school for picking up kicks). But you thought, this doesn’t sound right. So you make some calls and send some email and smoke a cancer stick or three. A couple of hours later you come out with your own story. Your maybe 3rd or 4th to break the news but your first with the complete story. Hugh Johnson has a parking problem but at least he was on time to get his kids. Now again me as the fan reading that story see the story in its entirety and remembers what a good job you did of getting the big picture. You where far from being first to break the news but you put out the most complete news. Your website is now bookmarked and place in my daily read list. Now not every news puts out bits and pieces just to be first. But a lot do. Or at least they try to. And my point in all of this is sometimes is better for both your reputation as a writer and source of information to wait a bit before jumping into the stream just to get your name out. Sure when it works it works. But when it doesn’t work it will hurt you more that being first would help you. Taking 100 steps forward means nothing if the next minute you take 600 backwards. I’ll stop rambling though and leave you with a video of a guy who was a little to worried about being first when he should have been paying more attention to the quality of his work.