Monday, September 19, 2016

Speed or Accuracy: Which is More Important Today?

Kaitlin Webb

In today's digital world, we are all presented with a serious question: Do we want news fast, or do we want news to be accurate?

It's true that throughout history, the public has been plagued with hoax articles that are intriguing, such as the Sochi wolf or the pumpkin spice condom, but ultimately false. Now more than ever, it's difficult for news companies to make sure they release and circulate accurate information.

Buzzfeed Works on their Accuracy

"Old newspaper ways of doing things are scoffed at here," senior editor Marc Fisher stated in the Columbia Journalism Review referring to BuzzFeed. If you've ever been on BuzzFeed's website, you'd know this statement is true, but does it mean BuzzFeed has scoffed at the old school accuracy of journalism?

According to The Atlantic, BuzzFeed produces around 222 stories a day, which is an insane amount of facts to check. Occasionally, BuzzFeed releases hoax stories, but they, as a business, have stepped up and are adding more copy editors to their ranks.

BuzzFeed has undergone so much growth since they started out and are no longer able keep up with corrections on already published posts. As Fisher says, "They've decided it makes good journalism and business sense to assure readers that their posts are true by hiring more copy editors and releasing accurate stories.

Instantaneous but not always right 

The main difference between old school journalism and the new school is that journalists know the information isn't exactly accurate but it is instantaneous and that is more important.

News agencies, such as Thunderdome and NowThis News, are key followers in this newfound rule of journalism. NowThis News releases 40 to 50 news videos a day, and as Ashish Patel, the company's vice president of social media says, "speed is a part of our brand."

This instantaneous speed is what digital media consumers want, and news companies are starting to incorporate into the core of their business, into their brand. Times and consumers have changed, causing journalism to change. Journalists are in the process of learning how to keep up with this fast paced, digital world.

Journalism and Speed's Relationship

Journalism and speed have always gone together, the urge to break a story has driven journalists since the beginning. The journalists of the past weren't perfect, and they made mistakes, too, but it's when you add the Internet into the mix that the problem escalates.

It's has become increasingly easier to have errors go viral before they can be edited. This is also means it's become just as hard to be an ethical journalist, and take responsibility for those mistakes, and fix them. There are roughly 500 million tweets posted every day in America, so once the inaccurate story is shared, it's hard to stop the circulation.

That's why it's important and why companies, like BuzzFeed, are stepping up and working on accuracy and fact checking before posting. This speed is also why some companies, like NowThis, aren't so concerned with accuracy, but are trying to give consumers news as fast as they can.  

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