I wouldn’t want to be a journalist now with all the news being reported on social media and having to dig through it all to figure out what is correct and what it is not. If you end up relying on a piece of information that is incorrect your career may be over. That’s a lot of pressure to live up to.
Social media and breaking news first has led to a lot of inaccuracies. The responsibility relies on the person doing the posting. It was really interesting to see how advance Twitter’s search could be. I had no idea of the level it could go but that is a great resource for those hunting down correct information.
When it comes to the speed and accuracy debate, accuracy should win. Why would a brand want to be the first if it is in fact incorrect? They will then have that error tied to them as more news swirls. While I’ve not been in a situation to know what I would do, a brand could send an initial tweet about what they do know to be correct and say more details coming. Then more details could be released as they were to be found accurate.
If speed and accuracy are both important to an organization then they need to have the resources available to have all hands on deck when breaking news occurs. While you can’t plan for it to happen, you can have a plan in place and know who will play what role. That will create less scrambling and more people verifying facts and pushing out messages on social media in the time of breaking news.
While at the LPGA, I followed all of our golf industry media on Twitter and you could always see them trying to be the first to break a story. We would embargo news yet it would still break prior to our release going out. Waiting was not good enough. Once someone was out there with information they all would follow suit as fast as they could. No one wants to be left out even if that meant putting more time and information into a piece. It became about who could say it first on Twitter and I imagine it still is.
I don’t find unpublishing images to be unethical. I can see how a brand may not want to have the image remain on their social feeds, so they remove it. Case in point recently with Delta tweeting a World Cup score with a picture of a giraffe representing Ghana. I saw the image on Delta’s feed prior to it being deleted. Yes the image will forever live in the social space because nothing ever really dies, but at least the brand doesn’t have it on their page continuing to stare them in the face. It also keeps the original from further spiraling out of viral control.