“Matching” — when one or more news organizations writes a story based on a news item that another outlet broke first — is an institutional problem deeply rooted within many mainstream newsrooms.
To paraphrase myself from this article, sometimes it’s a business strategy: Ignore your competition, don’t let your readers know they exist, pretend they didn’t beat you. Sometimes it’s cultural: The journalists come from a print background and didn’t grow up with the web like digital natives.Sometimes it’s technical: The CMS simply wasn’t created with links in mind (this sounds crazy but is actually true in some cases), or the system is built to serve multiple masters (print and digital), and the print side inexplicably wins out over the digital.
Often it’s a combination of one or more.
The practice of “matching” a story is an outdated one that still continues despite the fact we’re all now working with a medium that no longer requires it. If someone already reported the story, you’ve verified their story is correct, and you have nothing to move that story forward, write a brief and link to whom did the legwork already. By all means, let your readers know about the story, lead them to it. Be a beacon for all news, not just your own. Then, move on and produce something of more value.
Newsrooms are low on resource; apply those resources efficiently. Your 500-word re-write of the same article as your “competitor,” as you call them, is unnecessary and a total waste of time.
I’m not calling out anyone in particular — I’m calling out our entire industry that does this all day long and twice on Sunday. I’m begging you please, to stop. For your own good and for a public awash in duplicative information.
Are these Edward Snowden’s ARSTechnica posts?
Reuters reporter John Shiffman reports that NSA leaker Edward Snowden went by an online alias “TheTrueHOOHA” at one time. I uncovered some interesting threads on ARS Technica message board where that handle posted the following:
- TheTrueHOOHA mentions the NSA here
- TheTrueHOOHA asks “Has anybody considered working as IT security in Japan?” on a thread he started.
- “Anyone up for l337 wars?” asks TheTrueHOOHA
- TheTrueHOOHA posted a bunch of images of himself here but the links are now broken
- TheTrueHOOHA posts a thread “Japanese people being Japanese…”
- TheTrueHOOHA posted a thread: “YAFPT: So I just got the proofs back from a photoshoot… 56k = warned” …the images are broken in the thread but @nelikli reposted them here.
- In a thread about Cisco wiretapping, TheTrueHOOHA posted this (h/t @nelikli):
It really concerns me how little this sort of corporate behavior bothers those outside of technology circles. Society really seems to have developed an unquestioning obedience towards spooky types.
I wonder, how well would envelopes that became transparent under magical federal candlelight have sold in 1750? 1800? 1850? 1900? 1950? Did we get to where we are today via a slippery slope that was entirely within our control to stop, or was it an relatively instantaneous sea change that sneaked in undetected because of pervasive government secrecy?
- In a thread titled: “So your work tells you you’re going to be assigned overseas…” TheTrueHOOHA posts (h/t @nelikli):
My list, in order (just like in the poll!) would be:
China, Korea, and australia might be swapped, though. They’re sort of nebulous.
On page 3 of that same thread, he posts:
Although I’m not a diplomat, I work for the Department of State. I actually signed up because of the opportunity for foreign travel, so I’m not bent out of shape at all. All of the inflexible terms in the OP were to establish some sort of ground rules for the hypothetical so it didn’t veer off into insanity.
That said, I’m surprised by the showing Australia made in the poll. I have to wonder if it’s really the paradise Arsians seem to think it is, but being that this is a nerds’ forum, I’m suprised ANYTHING beat out Japan. I also don’t see the allure of “Scandinavian” countries, but that’s simply because I don’t want to live in a country where warmth and comfort are only spoken of in bedtime stories.
China is definitely a good option career-wise, and I’ve already got a basic understanding of Mandarin and the culture, but it just doesn’t seem like as much “fun” as some of the other places. Who knows where the “needs of the service” will actually end up placing me, though.