Typically on a big story with a lot of risk behind it, we tend to wait until there are as many as three different news organizations reporting it. In this case there were three reporting it, but we saw others saying that there were no arrests or that they had no knowledge of arrests. So there was enough conflict from other news organizations for us to wait just one more beat. At that point we made a very difficult and agonizing decision just to sit and watch. And for Breaking News that was a very difficult thing to do, and I have to give a big shout-out to our editors who made that decision under the pressure to go.Breaking News’ general manager Cory Bergman • Discussing how his team handled the mistaken reporting regarding the Boston bombing suspects — reporting that ensnared CNN and the Associated Press, among others. Describing the platform’s approach, he says, “With us it’s interesting — there’s pressure to be second.” The NBC-owned platform, which is on every major social network, recently launched native advertising in its mobile app.
We get stories much faster than we can make sense of them, informed by cellphone pictures and eyewitnesses found on social networks and dubious official sources like police scanner streams. Real life moves much slower than these technologies. There’s a gap between facts and comprehension, between finding some pictures online and making sense of how they fit into a story. What ends up filling that gap is speculation. On both Twitter and cable, people are mostly just collecting little factoids and thinking aloud about various possibilities. They’re just shooting the shit, and the excrement ends up flying everywhere and hitting innocent targets.
Farhad Manjoo, Slate. Breaking News Is Broken.
While Twitter’s Turks will help bring much-needed context to the platform, they’re not journalists who verify whether something is true. As we’ve seen with the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and Superstorm Sandy, Twitter rumors ran rampant. Some rumors turned out to be true, but many were inaccurate or even malicious. Some were important, others were trivial. At Breaking News, we rely on experienced journalists (that’s one of them, Stephanie Clary, above) to verify real-time reports and prioritize their importance. We also add context, associating reports with ongoing stories, topics and locations. But accuracy and importance — along with speed — are the essence of breaking news for any news organization.The Breaking News team to Twitter: Your Mechanical Turk team can’t compete with our actual journalists.