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Breaking news on Twitter you don't think is true

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SnarkShark, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    Let's take a look at how this Nick Saban clusterf--- happened...

    From Stefan Stevenson, the TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:


    About 45 minutes later, he tweets this:


    To summarize, he doesn't even believe what his source is telling him, yet still tweeted it out and caused this whole thing.

    It may be right, it may be wrong (by his own admission, he thinks it is wrong), but practically no one will remember who broke the story in a week and his repercussions will be what if the tweet turns out to incorrect?
  2. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    If he's not confident enough to put it in the paper, he shouldn't be tweeting it. At the very least he needs to put it in the proper context straight away, and not walk it back 45 minutes later.

    If he sent the first tweet and then tweeted the "Source was very confident. I'll believe it when I see it." part about 30 seconds later, I'm mostly OK with it.
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Exciting new pet peeve: "Tweeting out"

  4. Stop right there.

    This is what is supposed to separate reporters from fans. And fact from rumor.

    Although at this point any and all things can be true. Saban's agent could feed the UT speculation to get more money from 'Bama.
    You can't believe anything from anyone - UT, Mack Brown, Saban, his agent, 'Bama, anyone, until someone goes on record, because you have a dozen "sources" with a 10 different stories.

    But on Twitter, being first trumps being right because first - and salacious - means more followers.
  5. Bamadog

    Bamadog Well-Known Member

    I'd rather be late and right than first and wrong.

    I've seen it so many times. A big one that stands out was Rich Rodriguez to Alabama. Remember that?

    If you don't feel confident in it enough to write a story, keep it to yourself. It isn't worth tweeting.
  6. Wow, proud day for the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

    How embarrassing. I wonder if the editor is red-faced about this or just excited by how his writer generated "buzz."

    I fear the latter.
  7. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    As Evil Orville noted, making sure the story is correct and credible is supposed to be what separates journalists from everyone else. Sadly, in this instant media/24-hour-news-cycle world, journalists have been working steadily to decrease that separation.
  8. NancyLou

    NancyLou Member

    Might it have been better to say, "The scuttlebutt says: Saban is the next Longhorns coach"?

    I can see wanting to be first SO badly someone would tweet this, but I'd be the one to let people know - this is JUST a rumor and that's how I'd have written the article. And, yes, there would have been an article, but I'd have made ABUNDANTLY clear - this is just a rumor, nothing solid yet - and might have gone on to discuss the odds of this and/or how it might improve the team.
  9. SnarkShark

    SnarkShark Well-Known Member

    But you wouldn't be first, because the Saban-to-Texas rumor has been around for years.
  10. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    I think you'd be ok with something like "Source close to Regents tells me Saban will be next Texas coach. I'm highly skeptical, but talk is out there." It acknowledges the hot rumor without falsely stoking it.
  11. If you writing about rumors. You are not a reporter. You're a gossip.
  12. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I'm with you on your basic premise, but remember, Rodriguez did get a real live contract offer from Bama.


    Unlike about 93% of these other Tweeterverse media firestorms, that rumor had plenty of reality behind it.
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