News organizations want to be right — and fast

Jeff Horwich Nov 5, 2012

This year’s presidential election could be one of the tightest contests ever. The race among the news media to be first to declare states for President Obama or Governor Romney will be intense.

And yet the Associated Press has warned its reporters not to tweet out the results of races that are called by other news outlets. NBC told the New York Times that it will physically separate its statisticians from news anchors to prevent incomplete information from making it on air.

“There’s a lot of redundancy that people are trying to build in to try to be right rather than be first,” says Andrew Beaujon, reporter and blogger at the journalism think-tank, the Poynter Institute. “If you recognize that mistakes are going to happen in a fast and complex news story, you can be ready to combat false information, and good social media plans will have contingencies to attack mistakes.”

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