But, apparently, hardly anyone in the MSM believed it when the John Edwards love child allegations came forth on July 22. Tony Pierce, the LAT’s blog editor, wrote to his bloggers: “Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.”

Maybe the response instead should have been to use the Enquirer story as a tip for further reporting, as Rick James, the Charlotte Observer’s editor, did. It’s a mixed bag in this journalism world of ours, with varying priorities—to the public, to the watchdog mentality, to verification. But individual priorities may even be better met with interaction between the strata.

Jane Kim is a writer in New York.