The Demise Of The Scoop

    January 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Being first to a story when there were only three to six outlets in competition for a scoop meant a lot for the media of yore. Now that nearly anyone can be a bastion of insight and analysis in the time it takes to register a domain name and configure some blog software settings, the euphoria of Extra! Extra! Read All About It seems downright quaint in comparison.

In an effort to tangentially relate this to the search news our core readership knows, loves, and probably despairs at not seeing enough of during a deader-than-Elvis time of year in search news, I’ll invoke the mighty name of Google here to keep everyone awake.

If you need a Google/search/make money fa$t related fix, there’s a post about “absolute unique visitors” on their Analytics blog.

Now that I have your attention…the scoop is dead. Requiescat in pace. It’s a great ego boost to be the first to a story, the payoff for having the right contact at the right time (or perhaps the wrong time if the scoop proves embarrassing to the subject of the story.)

Sometimes the story is just wrong, because the conditions that made it a scoop change so rapidly that the original story becomes discredited. We’ve seen it happen a couple of times in relation to Google in the past few days.

First, the news that salacious websites were being screwed over by Google began making the rounds. No less an authority than Boing Boing, the world’s most linked-to blog, had an account of this.

Had Google progressed from nurturing mother of all information to a vengeful Elektra striking down adult content blogs? Nope. It turned out to be something Google tweaked in-house, because a day later all of the referenced sites had reappeared in the warm embrace of Google’s SERPs.

A similar event, and definitely not the same in terms of content matter, concerned a useful algorithmic function of Google’s search, known as the Calculator. Along with sundry mathematical operations, the Google Calculator could take certain queries entered into the search box, like measurement or currency conversions, and output a result.

Then the Calculator took flight with the Greys, leaving a wondering blogosphere to consider its fate.

By the time many posts had been typed, and a few of those scrubbed for spelling errors and typos, the Calculator had returned. Seeming no worse for wear, it could tell what 500 dollars in euros would be (about 379 of them) and the current WebProNews neighborhood temperature in Celsius (1.1 degree).

We praise the speed of the Internet in carrying news from point A to B through Z and beyond. Sometimes it almost seems people would be better served if the information came at a slightly slower pace. But why do that when something online can be edited and updated on the fly as new information becomes available?

It’s not the scoop that matters now. It’s how well the rewrite and editing can be performed.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.