I follow hundreds of people on Twitter and more than a hundred blogs in Google Reader, not to mention the myriad other ways interesting stories and information comes my way. Maybe I saw it on MetaFilter or Reddit, or maybe my fiancé or a former co-worker personally passed it on to me. After looking at hundreds of stories/web pages each day, it’s hard to keep track of what I’ve seen or, having seen it, where I saw it or who shared it first. It’s a digital age dilemma when it comes to blogging about cool new tools or breaking news. It’s especially difficult when the news seems so ubiquitous it’s hard to determine who really broke it (and often, whether that scoop is really a scoop).
This came to mind when GigaOm founder Om Malik posted this tweet praising TechCrunch for “do[ing] the right thing” and crediting them for their “scoop” regarding Google’s acquisition of BufferBox.
The comments on his tweet are particularly interesting, with comments ranging from “I didn’t know you guys had anything on it” to “How is it a GigaOm scoop when they announced it in a company blog post?” to the toungue-in-cheek “Google may acquire a startup in the next six months. You heard it here first. Please make sure to source me. Thanks.” As background, Om apparently had a post about Amazon Locker/BufferBox last month that mentioned, “I have heard rumors that Google is interested in buying the company,” and speculates on what BufferBox could add to the search giant’s line up. TechCrunch updated its post on the sale, which cites the Financial Post interview with the founder, to include a link to Om’s story as background.
But here’s the thing: Are rumors scoops? When does a scoop cease being a scoop, when the info is public and everyone else reports it? Even when it’s not a scoop, but a publicized feature/event/purchase/etc…. Who do you credit? When do you have to credit them? How do you credit them?
With that in mind, here are some best practices to help deliver credit where it’s due and, because it’s about the readers, give your visitors more background into the story and topic. What it comes down to is, it’s better to give too much credit than not enough. Hopefully these tips help navigate the sometimes murky link-back. Read more