Jamie's Blog

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Interesting thoughts on the power of Internet News

Yesterday Engadget posted a story saying that the iPhone was behind schedule and wouldn't make it's release date. Engadget is a very popular blog focusing on tech news. I often read them and Gizmodo, a competing and very similar site, first thing in the morning while drinking my coffee.
Engadget based the story on an internal email they received that was forwarded from the Apple mail server. It turns out that the email was a hoax. Shortly after Engadget posted the story, Apple contacted them to deny it. Engadget quickly posted a correction. Unfortunately in the short time that the story was posted, it caused a massive selling spree on Apple stock. All because of an unconfirmed email.
Engadget probably should have confirmed the story before running with it, but it is in a cut throat market where being first makes a big difference. So it didn't confirm before running.

This kind of thing has happened before with more traditional media, but it is interesting to note that the "new media" has now reached the same level of power. Blog sites are often looked down on for not being real news. They often are not run by people with journalism backgrounds, and don't follow the same patterns that the more traditional media follows.

Many bloggers, myself included, do it only in their spare time. But obviously, the blog form of news has reached the same level of influence that the traditional media types have. Bloggers have largely done that by throwing out all of those same patterns and methods that make the traditional media claim blogging isn't news.

Maybe that hasn't always been such a good thing. Problems like the Engadget one, are much more rare (Though not unheard of) in the traditional news world. Maybe this is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. We are so eager to throw out the traditional stuffy and often stupid limitations and methods of traditional media, that we are throwing out many of the important and necessary "rules" of journalism. Bloggers should really take a hard look at some of the lessons traditional media has already learned.

Original Engadget story with update: False alarm: iPhone NOT delayed until October, Leopard NOT delayed again until January

Followup TechCrunch Story: Engadget Knocks $4 billion off Apple Market Cap on Bogus iPhone email

Followup Gizmodo story: My Take on Engadget's 4 Billion Dollar iPhone Mistake

[edit] Engadget posted an explanation of their reasoning and process behind posting the story. It looks like they might not be as much at fault as it originally seemed. Regarding yesterday's Apple news

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