Only (Kinda) on Taking Aim!

by Dan Ward

If you’re like me, beyond being frightened by that thought, you also are annoyed by the constant claims by print and broadcast media that they, and only they, have THE exclusive on some breaking news story.

“Seen first on 6,” “exclusive to 2,” “you’d have to be daft to turn to 6 or 2 because the story is only here on 9” … the hyperbole grows with every story.  It’s not enough to present a thoroughly researched news report; you must also describe how your news organization got the story first, or how you interviewed someone nobody else did, or how your story led to changes in government leadership/renewed calls for transparency/a yet further decline in readers and viewers.

What we rarely see is one of these news organizations publicly questioned about whether they actually got the story first.  Until now.  Seems the AP’s Harry Weber is more than a little perturbed by New York Times claims that they have reported elements of the BP oil spill that nobody else has covered.

Says Weber, “their key assertions that the destruction of the Horizon ‘has escaped intense scrutiny’ and that the final hours are only now possible to piece together are patently false.”  He then goes on to describe, in detail, how AP staffers had covered many of these same story elements, and others, as early as May.

Does this signal the beginning of the end for “we got the story first” headlines?  Doubtful, though it’s good to finally see somebody question the accuracy of such headlines.

Just remember, in this case you definitely saw it here first … ish.


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