Pass the #popcorn

ICYMI: TechCrunch errs, other tech writers pile on

According to a recent Pew study, 15 percent of adults online use Twitter — 8 percent daily. I’m pretty sure most of that 8 percent are journalists. Journalists love Twitter, whether using it for writing, conversation, or fighting. And I love to watch—and judge—the sparring.
If you see a #JournoTweetFight that you think merits inclusion, please give me a heads up @saramorrison.

It all started on Monday, when a press release that claimed Google was buying a company for $400 million made its way onto PRWeb. Several organizations reported it. If reporters from the AP, Business Insider, Forbes, and TechCrunch (among others) had bothered to call the companies mentioned and wait for confirmation before publishing, they would have discovered that the release was fake. Oops!

AllThingsD’s Arik Hesseldahl did check before publishing, resulting in this article and much egg on the faces of those who couldn’t be bothered to do actual journalism. TechCrunch bore the brunt of the criticism, probably because it has a history of questionable journalistic ethics and its co-editor Alexia Tsotsis writes things like this.

Safe to say, TechCrunch is not well-loved by the rest of the tech journalism world … so you can imagine the gleeful Twitter reaction to its fake press release coverage!

DECISION: Maybe it’s the “old-timer” in me, but I think journalism is more than just regurgitating a press release without doing any kind of verification. If people are going to take the time to read what I write, I will take the time to ensure that what they’re reading is accurate. Clearly there are plenty of readers out there who don’t care about this, and more power to TechCrunch for that. Supply the demand.

But when you get caught cutting corners, it’s best to just take the inevitable criticism as gracefully as possible and wait for it to die down. @karaswisher could’ve framed her argument more diplomatically, but AllThingsD didn’t screw up this time. TechCrunch did.

Anyway, the win goes to the brand new parody account that criticizes both sides: @alexiaswisher!

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: , ,