Ryan’s wrapup of tough day at Engadget

Ryan Block and I have had our troubles in the past but he’s always been a standup guy and yesterday in his life was probably pretty rough (he printed an email that he got from an Apple employee that later turned out to be a hoax, well, you can read the whole story over at TechMeme. Turned out Apple’s stock took a hit because of the report and Apple’s PR was slow to react).

In this situation I back Ryan Block 100%. His post on the matter is the way to handle it.

If anything went wrong here, it’s the pressure on everyone (bloggers and journalists) to be first. Why is that pressure there? Because the first one to post a story will usually get linked to by everyone after that. Links bring traffic. Traffic brings money (at least to sites that have ads). That’s one reason why I don’t put ads on my blog. I already feel enough of that pressure and don’t need to feel more because my paycheck is being affected.

I’ve also mostly jumped off the “be first” bandwagon and I’m sorry for pushing it over the past few years. For one, I can’t keep up (which is why I do my link blog, to show that so much news is being broken every day by a number of blogs, not just one). For two, I want to be known for my video work, not my blogging work, and video slows you down — a blogger can bang out a post in a few minutes, video takes longer so you’ll never be first and even if you are it won’t get linked to as much during the link storm because it takes more time to watch and is harder to link to and reuse on other blogs. For three, I am getting older and can’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning anymore which is often when interesting news breaks. I’ve gotta start taking care of my health, rather than worrying about being first on the next big story.

Anyway, I’ve taken my shots at Engadget in the past (not my proudest moments in life, truth be told) and Ryan’s post raised his stock way up in my eyes.

72 thoughts on “Ryan’s wrapup of tough day at Engadget

  1. Amazing. You can’t even get your facts straight about this, when the source is easily available to all. The email was not published in Ryan’s first article. It was not even discussed. It simply referred to “reliable sources.”

    Even if you support/defend Ryan for being quick to publish and having honest intentions, how can you defend the sloppy journalism that does not even mention the facts about what the “source” said?

    I honestly find it unbelievable that so many people are getting basic facts about this story wrong. It really shows sloppy journalism on top of sloppy journalism. Please explain to me, Robert, what led you to write that Ryan had “printed the email” in your first paragraph?

    Did you see this email “printed” in Ryan’s article? Did you imagine it? Are you just using secondary and tertiary sources, instead of going to the actual first-hand source when you write your blog?

  2. Amazing. You can’t even get your facts straight about this, when the source is easily available to all. The email was not published in Ryan’s first article. It was not even discussed. It simply referred to “reliable sources.”

    Even if you support/defend Ryan for being quick to publish and having honest intentions, how can you defend the sloppy journalism that does not even mention the facts about what the “source” said?

    I honestly find it unbelievable that so many people are getting basic facts about this story wrong. It really shows sloppy journalism on top of sloppy journalism. Please explain to me, Robert, what led you to write that Ryan had “printed the email” in your first paragraph?

    Did you see this email “printed” in Ryan’s article? Did you imagine it? Are you just using secondary and tertiary sources, instead of going to the actual first-hand source when you write your blog?

  3. Robert, you’re wrong here, unless you think Engadget needs to be held to no more account than the average person staring out of a window while waiting for the microwave to ping. The email contained information that would have let them cross-check: it said “Apple today issued a press release…”

    He should have said “What press release?” Any slightly trained journalist would have. If I’d received that story, I’d have bee n poised to write the story – and then I’d have read the email a second time and wondered about it standing up. Apple PR might not have leapt to the phones, but the clues necessary to stand the story up, or kill it, were right there in the email itself. This was bad practice within Engadget; indicative of a subtle problem that will be very hard to eradicate. But the same one that newspapers and other media struggle with: how long do you try to stand up (or kill off) a story? When do you publish? If Engadget can move a market, then it has to consider taking longer about checking facts before someone comes after them in a very aggressive fashion.

  4. Robert, you’re wrong here, unless you think Engadget needs to be held to no more account than the average person staring out of a window while waiting for the microwave to ping. The email contained information that would have let them cross-check: it said “Apple today issued a press release…”

    He should have said “What press release?” Any slightly trained journalist would have. If I’d received that story, I’d have bee n poised to write the story – and then I’d have read the email a second time and wondered about it standing up. Apple PR might not have leapt to the phones, but the clues necessary to stand the story up, or kill it, were right there in the email itself. This was bad practice within Engadget; indicative of a subtle problem that will be very hard to eradicate. But the same one that newspapers and other media struggle with: how long do you try to stand up (or kill off) a story? When do you publish? If Engadget can move a market, then it has to consider taking longer about checking facts before someone comes after them in a very aggressive fashion.

  5. Get a clue.
    Buy one, borrow one, steal one.

    Peoples life savings may have been wiped out. Nice Mistake.

  6. Get a clue.
    Buy one, borrow one, steal one.

    Peoples life savings may have been wiped out. Nice Mistake.

  7. Sorry Robert, you’re way off base here. The onerous is on Engadget to get it right despite their own self-imposed pressure. They are at the top of the heap in gadget blogs, so that pressure is of their own making. I wouldn’t feel so strongly about it except the so-called “explanation” did nothing to demonstrate that they learned what went wrong. “We messed up, oh well!” just doesn’t cut it.

  8. Sorry Robert, you’re way off base here. The onerous is on Engadget to get it right despite their own self-imposed pressure. They are at the top of the heap in gadget blogs, so that pressure is of their own making. I wouldn’t feel so strongly about it except the so-called “explanation” did nothing to demonstrate that they learned what went wrong. “We messed up, oh well!” just doesn’t cut it.

  9. So, what you’re saying then is that it’s more important to make money than to publish facts?

    Maybe _you’re_ what’s wrong here. You and Ryan, anyway. Covering ass with an excuse that basically amounts to “we needed to move before anyone else” is just bull.

  10. So, what you’re saying then is that it’s more important to make money than to publish facts?

    Maybe _you’re_ what’s wrong here. You and Ryan, anyway. Covering ass with an excuse that basically amounts to “we needed to move before anyone else” is just bull.

  11. The good news: Engadget et al have cemented and backed up their claims of blogging being journalism.

    The bad news: It’s yellow journalism.

  12. The good news: Engadget et al have cemented and backed up their claims of blogging being journalism.

    The bad news: It’s yellow journalism.

  13. Get linked or get it right? A marketer does the former, a journalist does the latter. This kind of foolishness lowers the bar for bloggers. Bad job.

  14. Get linked or get it right? A marketer does the former, a journalist does the latter. This kind of foolishness lowers the bar for bloggers. Bad job.

  15. Just to point out, that journalistic standards (at least pre-Lewinsky, pre-sensationalist Fox News) for the most part followed the Two Source Rule, wherein journalists were required to seek corroboration/confirmation from a second source before publishing a story, particularly when the first source was anonymous. News agencies in the past couple years have started trampling over this rule, and that’s when jobs are lost. Case in point: Dan Rather.

    Ryan would have been fired from any reputable print journal for leaking that information.

  16. Just to point out, that journalistic standards (at least pre-Lewinsky, pre-sensationalist Fox News) for the most part followed the Two Source Rule, wherein journalists were required to seek corroboration/confirmation from a second source before publishing a story, particularly when the first source was anonymous. News agencies in the past couple years have started trampling over this rule, and that’s when jobs are lost. Case in point: Dan Rather.

    Ryan would have been fired from any reputable print journal for leaking that information.

  17. “he printed an email”
    But he didn’t. That was the fundamental error. No email, no indication that the email referenced a non-existent press release. At least if he had printed the email initially, people could have made a more informed choice. Individual readers (and shareholders) could have asked, “why haven’t I seen the press release?” No, he left critical information out.

    I agree that you’d have to be a jackass to dump your shares based on this story, but you’d have to be a bigger jackass to believe the email and post a blurb that misrepresented the completely unverified email.

  18. “he printed an email”
    But he didn’t. That was the fundamental error. No email, no indication that the email referenced a non-existent press release. At least if he had printed the email initially, people could have made a more informed choice. Individual readers (and shareholders) could have asked, “why haven’t I seen the press release?” No, he left critical information out.

    I agree that you’d have to be a jackass to dump your shares based on this story, but you’d have to be a bigger jackass to believe the email and post a blurb that misrepresented the completely unverified email.

  19. I know I am late to the party, but lets be real here.

    Baseball is very competitive, do people give Barry Bonds a pass on steriods because he is just trying to compete? You could say that the Enron executives were operating in a pressure environment, but that does not excuse what happened there.

    Engadget jumped at the chance to cover what they thought was the story. They blew it. Just becasue they are in a competitive environment doesn’t give them the excuse and that argument should not even be used. Pressure? You call the blog environment pressure? Get a grip on reality.

  20. I know I am late to the party, but lets be real here.

    Baseball is very competitive, do people give Barry Bonds a pass on steriods because he is just trying to compete? You could say that the Enron executives were operating in a pressure environment, but that does not excuse what happened there.

    Engadget jumped at the chance to cover what they thought was the story. They blew it. Just becasue they are in a competitive environment doesn’t give them the excuse and that argument should not even be used. Pressure? You call the blog environment pressure? Get a grip on reality.

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