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Big headlines, slow news

It’s been a huge news week. Between Steve Jobs, Amanda Knox and Kyle Sandilands’ imaginary love child, the press must have bruised fingertips by now. Well, about the first two stories anyway.

But beyond the gushing memorials and the frothing controversies, I think an important point has been missed.

Steve Jobs was many things to many people. He was a visionary, he changed the world, he was – and I quote here – the “greatest inventor since Edison.” But he wasn’t always first.

He wasn’t first to the MP3 player. He wasn’t first to the touchscreen smartphone. He wasn’t first to the tablet.*

But, more importantly, he got those designs right.

He took good ideas and made them into better products. He didn’t rush things out before they were perfect, which is why he was seen as a genius by the authors of his obituaries.

That lesson can be learned by the media.

This week, the verdict of Amanda Knox’s trial for murdering Meredith Kercher was handed down. It acquitted both her and Raffaele Sollecito (whose name barely gets a mention in most press – being ‘foxy’ gets you headline billing it seems) of the killing. But several media outlets, in their haste to be first, published articles stating their appeals had been rejected and they had been sent back to jail.

A couple even engineered reactions and quotes from the hypothetical situation.

Now, I understand many articles are pre-written – obituaries being a topical case in point. But when the rush to be first on the scene sees media miss the target this spectacularly it calls into question the credibility of their entire masthead. They need to learn from Mr Jobs – getting it right is more important that getting it first.

I am an admirer of the slow food movement as an alternative to fast food junk. Maybe it is high time for a slow news movement also?

*(I’m ignoring the PC because it doesn’t help my point at all!)

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/americanistadechiapas/6219215378/sizes/z/in/photostream

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