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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

on covering coverage and breaking news

On a few email lists, and now in the comments section, has been the complaint that Cambridge Common thinks it "broke" the news that Larry is resigning. I quickly mentioned this issue earlier today, but I thought it was fair to address it more in full. Apologies to people on the FUP list who have already read this explanation. (more in expanded post)

I do not claim to have "broken" the fact that Larry Summers was resigning. Simply speaking, I (and people on email lists) "broke" the fact that the Crimson believed that the WSJ had the story and that some Crimson staff members were sharing this information. That fact (and it is a fact) was verified by two sources and a half a dozen emails. I realize that the emails are less reliable, but the sources at the Crimson were as reliable as any sources that the Crimson uses on reporting on other things.

Simply said, this was coverage of the Crimson. If anything, that people believed that because I reported this fact-that the Crimson believed that it had been scooped by the WSJ- they believed that Larry was in fact resigning is a testament to the reliability of the Crimson.

To the extent that you believe that the Crimson should not be covered as a newsmaker in and of itself, or to the extent that you do not trust me as a source and therefore don't believe my sources were legitimate, I would understand concern and clarification. But if you believe that I am a reliable source and the Crimson is a legitimate thing to be covered, I held myself to the same standards that the Crimson holds itself to.

It seems odd to me that some have decried my coverage of the "breaking" of the story, and yet do so because they are so interested in that fact as a piece of news. Because I wrote about the "breaking" of the story before it was "broken" doesn't make my story any less legitimate. In addition, this seems ironic to me considering the fact that the story the Crimson ended up running this morning was about the fact that another media source had confirmed the story but they could not.

In any event, I want to make this clear because it's important to me not to delegitimize the hard work done by the people who actually confirmed the truth of the story and worked hard to do so. I was excited to find out about the process as it was happening, but only because the process itself is important and a valid thing to cover.

I hope that's clear. Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom. If you're interested, you can read more about my thoughts on alternative media at Harvard.


At 3:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

true, but cambridge common's email to the bgltsa-open list earlier today started off with

"Subject: So Summers Is Resigning, Right?

That's old news...

...but it wasn't last night when Cambridge Common picked up the story
before The Crimson, CNN, or President Bush's wiretaps. Come meet the
writers from (one of) the most dynamic news and opinion outlets on campus."

that sounds a little more like taking credit for scooping the story...

At 3:21 AM, Blogger andrew golis said...

That's a fair criticism. The email (not composed by me) was intended to grab people's attention and point out that there is a new exciting medium covering this stuff. I do think it's fair to be excited about the fact that we were the first to cover the breaking of the story as it happened. The email doesn't include that nuance, and maybe it should.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Steiny17 said...


At 11:24 AM, Blogger andrew golis said...

Steiny! I have no idea what you're talknig about, email me: golis@fas.harvard.edu.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Jersey Slugger said...

Anonymous, that was my e-mail. I am not Cambridge Common in total. Cambridge Common is a blog. Blog's don't send e-mails.

Secondly, that was a forwarded message since I didn't send it over the BGLTSA-open list.

Despite Andrew's protestations himself otherwise, I still say that I'm justified in saying Cambridge Common was the first outlet to announce Summers resigning. Under this definition from Dictionary.Com (#14 - To make known, as news: break a story), we broke the story. The title of the post says it all "Breaking: Summers is Resigning."

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, because under that definition the crimson people who told you about it "broke" it, or whoever sent the first open-list post did. They certainly made it known as much as you did.

At 7:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LEAK is not the same as BREAK.

At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WaPo broke the story, Crimson shouldn't be griping.

At 4:38 PM, Blogger kyledeb said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its was the Wall Street Journal


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