Being first vs. being right first
CNN and the Associated Press should already know this, but hardly anyone will remember if you were first to get the story right, and hardly anyone will forget if you were first and got the story wrong.
And talk about wrong: Having someone under arrest is a binary state—either law enforcement officials have someone in custody or they don’t. And in this case, despite repeated claims from CNN and the AP, there was no one in custody.
As Amy Davidson perfectly puts it in the above-linked New Yorker blog post:
There was a moment, between two and three o’clock on Wednesday, when the phrase “conflicting reports” seemed inadequate to describe the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.
The reports and their conflicting nature prompted a surprisingly sharp statement from the FBI pointing out the unintended consequences of reports like the AP and CNN’s, and the ones yesterday
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