The Variety exclusive didn’t explain any of this; it reported the news the old-fashioned way. Of all the coverage I read, Quartz’s did the best job of cluing in readers why they might want to care about the story, calling Aereo “the cloud based content upstart that could upend the TV industry” in its headline and leading with “America’s most powerful broadcasters are trying to shut down an emerging TV recording service.” It’s tempting to shrug: Hey, this is the internet, and the fastest draw wins. But there was time here to do a little bit more work: after Variety broke the news, it took the Wall Street Journal more than 24 hours to publish its (equally dry) story. When breaking news on the internet, speed counts, but so do style and substance.
Disclosure: CJR has received funding from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to cover intellectual-property issues, but the organization has no influence on the content.