Craig Silverman, the Montreal-based publisher of the blog Regret The Error, managing editor for PBS MediaShift and a frequent user of social media such as Twitter, has published (in his column for the Columbia Journalism Review) 8 simple rules for doing accurate journalism online. It's preparation for a workshop he's giving next week at the Online News Association.
One of his rules for accuracy is what he calls the "Law of Incorrect Tweets":
The point is to emphasize that a piece of misinformation is often far more appealing and interesting than the subsequent correction. People are therefore more inclined to retweet or like a false news report than to pay attention to any subsequent correction. Be careful with the information gets pushed out, and be diligent about repeatedly offering a correction. This is especially true with social media, but the principle—invest time in spreading corrections—is universal.
Another maxim is that people will forget who got a story first, but will remember who got it wrong.
Scoops are almost never as impactful and glory-filled as they seem.