February 25, 2012
So we hear something on the scanner about a loud noise coming from a house and concern that it might be a gunshot. Actually, the person who phoned this in to police admits to not knowing what a gunshot sounds like, but decided to report it — just in case.
So we keep listening. It might turn out to be news.
But then the tweets start rolling in. “Police respond to shooting in Westsyde.” “Reports of gunshot in Westsyde.”
Crap. We’ve were beat. Or were we? The report was of a loud noise. It didn’t seem like news, but since our competitors had jumped on it, I figured I should, too — with the truth. “Police respond to loud noise in Westsyde. Some concern that it may be gunshot.”
We weren’t first with the news, but at least we were accurate. When it turned out there was no gunshot after all, we reported that as well. One of our competitors didn’t even bother with a followup.
Later, I read a survey that shows people care more about the trustworthiness of a news source than whether it was first. A lot of times, they can’t even remember who was first.
I hope, in this case, I was able to build up a little more trustworthiness for us. Being first is fun for awhile, but being trustworthy is more satisfying in the long run.