OLD Media Moves

Reporting the same story twice

February 20, 2010

Allen Wastler, the managing editor of CNBC.com, notes that one of its TV correspondents reported earlier this week a nice story about the Whistler resort, a venue for many Olympic events under threat of foreclosure, that had been previously reported by one of the business news site’s Web reporters.

Wastler writes, “Except for the benefit of a televised interview, the two stories are virtually the same. But the later one actually performed better for us … drawing more reader interest and getting picked up by some of our syndication partners.

“That’s somewhat counter to the general sense of the news business, where being first with an interesting story usually means being the most widely read or viewed. (Indeed, ‘I reported that hours/days/months ago’ is a common boast among top-notch reporters … or reporters looking to get an editor off a ‘chase this’ assignment).

“But a month ago people weren’t so Olympic aware. Now with the skiers, sleds and skaters flying through the prime-time airwaves each night, the foreclosure news is a little bit more interesting to the public at large. Hence a little more click-interest in the headline.

“Does that mean I’m not encouraging reporters to break it first? No way. But it does point up the importance of revisiting material when it’s relevant.”

Read more here.

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