Accuracy and speed
Sunday 22 November 2009
I don't go for the debate on speed v. accuracy. A senior Thomson Reuters editor says news today is "contingent, uncertain and provisional." I see his point. In today's unlimited mass of news and opinion, you are irrelevant if you are not constantly present. But you can't get around the fact that news that is not true is trash, and peddling it is a trashy activity.
But speed does matter. Reuters had a proud tradition of being first with the news, and Thomson Reuters still scores beats. No correspondent in the field survived for long if he/she was regularly behind. I still cringe to think I was 10 minutes behind with a crash at Prague airport in 1973. I also remember my frustration at seeing wrapups for which I had shed tears and sweat, if not quite blood, trickle slowly out of the World Desk some four hours later, scarcely changed.
You have to be both right AND quick. Phew! For a moment I though I was getting old and something had changed. It hasn't. ■