Bloggers: Would You Rather Be First Or Right?

To all my blogger friends, I would love to hear opinions on whether it is more responsible for us to be right vs. first when reporting information. Is speculation okay? Is it useful?

As content becomes more and more valuable and as we each try to increase awareness of our blogs, build our following, and increase traffic, how important is it to ensure that our facts are correct before we hit the “Publish” button? If I just spout out statements like “Facebook announces that it’s going to buy Twitter” or “Apple is discontinuing the iPad 1 due to iOS 5 crashes”, I might generate a bunch of SEO traffic and boost my readership, but what value did I actually provide to my readers by publishing unsupported facts?

Normally, I would just post this question on Twitter (and I will), but I thought the dialog might be more engaging if we leveraged blog comments. I’d love to hear your feedback on whether you’d rather be first or right when breaking news on your blog.

Do bloggers have a responsibility to check their facts before publishing content? Is something true just becasue we heard it on a blog, Facebook, or Twitter?

To add to this, do journalistic tenets of ethics, source validation, etc… apply to blogging? Merriam-Webster defines journalism as:

Definition of JOURNALISM

1
a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b : the public press c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
2
a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

(source: Merriam-Webster definition of Journalism at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/journalism, accessed 02/11/2012)

If you read that definition literally, blogging doesn’t fall within that definition. It could be argued that blogs are becoming the modern equivalent of newspapers and magazines, but are usually slanted more toward the editorial views. So, can we just apply the same tenets of journalism to blogging?

Cheers!

–Sean

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Comments And Reactions

  1. Lean towards accuracy

  2. Last week a rumour went round that dogs were being poisoned where I live. It turns out that one dog scavenged and ate something dodgy and local vets said there was no evidence of poison. Yet local blogs and sites carried a number of stories about this without people checking first. Rumours caused people to boycott a specific area for no reason. Instant communication can be very useful, but should have make clear if information has not been confirmed or is speculative.

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