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Gini Dietrich

The Three Things, Edition 6

By: Gini Dietrich | November 4, 2012 | 
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Welcome to the sixth edition of The Three Things, brought to you by Michael SchechterHowie Goldfarb, and me.

Before we get started, everyone send well wishes to Shrek. Because he’s in New York, he’s had to work from home all week, plus he’s creating a big new writing project as part of NaNoWriMo. He’s a little busy, flustered, and probably a bit ADD from all the extra stimulation.

For those of you new to this series, The Three Things arrives in your inbox on Sunday mornings (unless you don’t suscribe, but that can easily be fixed if you hurry over and enter your email address or add to your RSS feed) so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we’ve curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.

Squarespace: Sandy Updates

Michael on Dedication. This week has taken its toll on many of us here on the east coast. While my family and I were more than fortunate, there are many who have not been so lucky. Through all of the stories of pain, there have also been tales of triumph. While there are many to choose from, I’ve been particularly impressed with the efforts that the team at Squarespace have taken to keep their service up and running. If you want to see what doing right by your customers and your service looks like, especially in the face of serious logistical and emotional adversity, take some time to read through their regular updates.

Disclaimer: Squarespace is a frequent sponsor of Michael’s podcast.

Fake Storm Reports

Howie on Citizen Journalists. I blog often about the limits of social media due to the platform’s short comings. That any tweet or Facebook post will be seen by maybe one to three percent of your network, due to the high volume of posts and size of your network. Typically, individual content never goes viral but topics do, such as updates on Hurricane Sandy. This article covers the recent discussions about whether speed is more important than accuracy and how often it compromises the quality of reporting. Obviously this one tweet got lucky that it was picked up by the right accounts and reshared. Even the Washington Post admits being duped and it cost someone his job.

When a Daughter Dies

Gini on Medical Care. I’m not going to lie. This father’s story about his daughter’s 20 day battle with cancer made me cry. Told on the Freakonomics blog, Steven Levitt’s dad (who is a doctor) tells the story of how his 50 year old daughter had an unsteady gait and went to the doctor only to discover she had brain tumors. During the next 20 days, she goes from being healthy and active to needing ice chips and morphine. While the blog post is written in highly technical medical terms, I think it will affect you the same way it did me. Near the end he says, “In this era of molecular biology, the most valuable medication was morphine, a drug that has been available for almost 200 years.” Amen, Dr. Levitt. Amen.

Now it’s your turn. Is there a podcast, video, or article you think we need to see?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

21 comments
ClayMorgan
ClayMorgan

Like the others, Howie's contribution resonated with me.

 

Tomorrow, our newsroom will cover the election. It is sure to be tight. We have the added bonus of covering the Tennessee 4th Congressional District Race, which features a an incumbent embroiled in scandal and a challenger who now has a outside shot of winning.

 

I have issued a memo to staff this morning (Monday) warning them that accuracy is more important than speed and that we should report facts, not Internet chatter. I have warned them not to report (which includes sharing/retweeting) on anything they read on Twitter, unless it is from an official source or is confirmed with an official source.

 

Not sure if I'm an anomaly or not, but in my newsroom accuracy and verification comes first.

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bradmarley
bradmarley

The Washington Post was also the first publication to share the image of the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns during the hurricane, when the image was actually taken in September. From there it spread virally, eventually coming full circle when my patriotic neighbor forwarded it like it was hot to his entire e-mail contact list.

 

The point here (aside from the fact that e-mail forwards are the most terrible thing ever) is no longer just a fun waste of time; we have to ensure the information we are spreading is accurate, even if it means checking Snopes before we share potentially fishy information.

 

This also means that well-respected publications (like the Post) are not immune to fact-checking. If not for them, I would not have had to sound like an a-hole when I corrected the posting of that image on my friend's FB page.

KenMueller
KenMueller

As a former journalist, Howie's selection really hits home, and mirrors a discussion I had two weeks ago with the new digital editor at our local paper. We spent about an hour hashing out the challenges newspapers face in this new world, and we're going to continue that discussion. I'm now trying to figure how to best get my thoughts on this down in print, whether it's a blog post or something a bit larger. It's an exciting time, but also a scary one. The beauty of social media, is that it not only is self-correcting, but it self-corrects rapidly.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @ClayMorgan Before I comment, I would just like to say... GO BEARS!

 

Now, there are many reasons I love you and this is one of them. I love the memo you issued this morning and I love how important it is to you accuracy and verification come first. I hate to say you're an anomaly, but I think you might be. Some media is more interested in getting to the story first and we all know it caused big issues during last week's storm.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

 @bradmarley The thing about that, specifically, is why would you even think to check Snopes first? I mean, it's an image of the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns. Of course, I wanted them to be standing guard while rain and wind were beating at them, but I also wouldn't think, "Hey, I wonder if this is real?"

 

That said, I watch Scandal while I ride my bike and an episode a couple of weeks ago had the CIA director fired because he had a young professional photoshop an image so the President would take the country to war. It's fiction and a little far-fetched, but I can totally see how this could happen.

ClayMorgan
ClayMorgan

 @ginidietrich The Bears? Now I'm going to have to take back everything nice I've ever said about you and your blog!

 

Thanks for the kind comment. There are going to be a lot of opportunities to "mess it up" tomorrow. Hopefully, my little newspaper will get it right.

 

And we'll be fully engaged in social media tomorrow night...just hopefully with accurate information.

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bradmarley
bradmarley

 @ginidietrich I would not have wondered that in the past, but there have been too many instances of staged content. (And the picture wasn't fake, just the description.) So now I'm leery of what people are sharing. I don't know. Maybe it's just me.