Breaking the Story That Isn’t

The Media Equation


Reporters have always kept an eye on other reporters. For a journalist, the only thing more interesting than what you are working on is what your competitor is working on.

But what if watching your competitor becomes your whole story? More and more inside the echo chamber of mediated Manhattan, there are now published reports about what other reporters might be doing. On the Web, it takes nothing more than a rumor, or even a rumor of a rumor, and a push of a button to pull back the blankets on somebody else’s work.

For working reporters, it can create the feeling that they are working in a hall of mirrors. In the last couple of weeks, The New York Times has been the subject of wild and wildly off-base rumors about its reporting on Gov. David A. Paterson. On Twitter last week, there was a suggestion that Politico was about to become the subject of an article in The New York Times Magazine and had issued a memorandum to deflect it.

And days before a New York magazine piece by Gabriel Sherman about the News Corporation ran, Gawker published a post suggesting that it would “shake loose some of the crumbling edifice of Murdoch’s empire.” When New York magazine’s piece appeared, it did nothing of the kind. But no matter, it was on to the next round of speculation.

Read the full editorial at BUSINESS


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