The “First” Phenomenon

Posted: March 3, 2011 by Alex Vietinghoff in #7 Ethics

Go to almost any video on Youtube, any article on a humour site, and chances are very good that the first comment posted was just someone saying “First”.  If someone else beat them to it mere seconds before, the next comment is usually “Fail.” or “Pwned.”  You can easily apply this to many news organizations, too.  Not in a literal sense, but imagine that the news organizations are the internet commentors.  They want to be the first one to cover a story, and also be the one to call out another news organization on inaccurracy or mistakes.

We’ve already spoken a lot in class about how it’s bad that some  news organizations are making earliness a higher priority than accurracy/double checking facts.  I don’t need to repeat that.  But what are the longer-term affects? 

At the rate we’re going, it could very well be possible that in the distant future, news organizations are merely tweeters or vloggers/bloggers.  People already want quick sound bites with the news, and we’re giving it to them.  But the more we try to be the first and quickest to rport, the more we’re raisinbg the expectations of the public.

Will the one-hour news show even exist years from now?  Everything is being put on the internet, what if TV eventually runs through internet?  Would there be a point to a show?  News organizations might very well just all have a Twitter feed, to which reporters post their quick videobyte of what’s happening.


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