It seems more and more lately, we've seen stories in the press that have, upon further examination, been debunked as false, exaggerated or hoaxes. It's unfortunately become the norm because media outlets have got themselves in a tither about being first to break any sort of news and, because of this speed-trumps-accuracy mindset, the credibility of news outlets is in question like never before.
The latest victim in this saga is, well, everyone, including a news release distribution service we at Curator sometimes use, PR Web. It appears now that someone uploaded a news release to PR Web purporting to be from a company that had just been bought for $400 million by Google. The release was disseminated en masse and, boom!, the race was on to be the first to break the story. The Associated Press even wrote about it.
Most of those stories have since been taken down, but CNN has a nice account of the fiasco here.
Whether red flags were missed by PR Web, journalists or even the public reading the stories (no quotes from company officials, nothing posted on their websites, nothing on their social media channels??), we're all to blame here. Speed has become the most important thing in journalism today. And it shouldn't be.
Taking the time to do the work and to do it right is critical. Clients and PR professionals working together - and working with distribution partners like PR Web, PR Newswire and BusinessWire - to craft the most accurate, detailed, useful news releases and campaigns is imperative.
As we've seen, the time and energy spent to clean up a mess is a lot harder and worse than taking a second look at something before it goes out the door and making sure it's right.
Here's to hoping that accuracy is the new buzzword for 2013.