Journalists vs. Bloggers
November 27, 2012 7:45 AM Subscribe
posted by nickheer (54 comments total)
7 users marked this as a favorite
If you follow the usual crop of technology news sites, you will have read yesterday morning that Google had apparently acquired a little-known WiFi hotspot company for $400 million. This story spread with the help of the most popular (and most reputable) sites, like TechCrunch
, The Verge
, The Next Web
, and others. Only one small detail: the story wasn't actually true.
Arik Hesseldahl of AllThingsD was the first to debunk the rumour
. After checking with his sources at Google, he concluded that the sole source for this news was a press release on PRWeb
(removed, but Google has it cached
So what happened? In a nut, and despite the implications to two publicly-traded companies, bloggers simply failed to verify this single-sourced information before rushing to the "Publish" button. All the original reports have since been corrected, and PRWeb has issued a release
claiming "identity theft" was responsible.
But this story isn't over, because it isn't about the non-acquisition; this story is about the difference between bloggers and journalists. As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land noted yesterday
, issuing press releases is simply a matter of paying a $159 fee. Actual journalists would ideally double-check that information before reporting it, but bloggers typically don't have that kind of training. The Twitter exchange captured by Harry Marks
between reporter Kara Swisher and TechCrunch blogger Alexia Tsotsis is indicative of the rift between the two camps, especially as blogs like TechCrunch and Engadget become increasingly influential.