Where have all the Watchdogs Gone?

by Roger Pynn

Oh what a tangled web we’ve woven. If you’re a United Airlines shareholder you’re probably wishing Al Gore had never invented the Internet … or at least that it had come with a built-in fact checker.

Seems somewhere between one of Tribune Company’s newspaper Web sites, a Fort Lauderdale investment advisory company and Bloomberg News Service, a year-old story sent United’s stock into a tailspin today and you have to wonder how much it cost individual investors who were trying to sell.

This is just more evidence that we are in perilous times as newspapers attempt to webify themselves while also paring back their teams with the equivalent of the accounting world’s FIFO method (First In, First Out) whereby the most experienced journalists have been the first to go.

That may work when you’re accounting for inventory or dollars, but there’s no substitute for experience … and the cautionary attitude that usually accompanies it.

Readers, advertisers and the businesses whom the media expect to answer their demands for information need to demand better and we’d better start insisting that what they make available on the Internet is clear, dated and linked to the most current, factual information.

One Response to Where have all the Watchdogs Gone?

  1. […] Pynn blogged yesterday about the mistakes by national media outlets that allowed a six-year-old story to nearly destroy […]

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