OLD Media Moves

The risks of online business news

September 10, 2008

Benjamin Pimental of Marketwatch writes about how the Internet has changed how business news is delivered in the wake of the six-year-old United Airlines story that caused its stock to fall.

Pimental writes, “Joseph Grundfest, a professor of law and business at Stanford Law School, said the episode shows that, in today’s market environment, high-speed information cuts both ways.

“‘What you have here is a mistake that caused a very rapid decline in the stock price, but the market also recovered from that decline once the truth was put out within a period of an hour or two or less,’ he said. ‘In a world where news travels more slowly, it could take longer to fix the mistake and more people would be affected.’

“Alan Mutter, a newspaper industry analyst and former newspaper editor, said the event also underscores the dangers that come with the massive information made available at break-neck speed through the Web.

“‘We live in a cascade of electronic babble and people must learn to be more careful about the sources of information,’ he said. ‘Most people think that if it’s on the Internet, then it must be true. … Speed kills, or at least speed can do harm.’

“Mutter also said, ‘While this is a dramatic case, it seems to have been a completely honest mistake.'”

Read more here.

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