This young journalist gets it. Why doesn’t AP?

This came in over my Twitter feed a few minutes ago:

“Yeesh the AP obit for Clarence Clemons better be a novel, because nearly an hour after story broke on Twitter no wire copy available.”

The tweet was from Kevin Young who  graduated from Missouri School of Journalism a two or three years ago and is working at a newspaper — legacy media. He was working as web producer at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. He’s with it enough to see how the journalistic climate is changing. Is AP getting it?

Clarence Clemons had a stroke six days ago and died today. Any journalist worth his/her salt would have had an obituary ready. I know that the AP and many other news organizations have scores of pre-written obituaries ready for situations just like this. I don’t think it’s unfair for this journalist to call out AP on the one hour time lapse.

We have taught our audiences to expect this of us. We have taught them to expect news to get to them quickly. We also strive for accuracy, which takes time. That’s why news often lags behind Twitter and Facebook messages. But in this case journalists had nearly a week to prepare this obituary and should have been ready to go on the wire in a matter of minutes.

More journalists need to be thinking like Kevin.



One response to “This young journalist gets it. Why doesn’t AP?

  1. Phoebe Wall Howard left this comment on Facebook:
    There’s a different issue here, I think. The AP has obits ready for “important” people. You have to wonder if the people in charge of AP saw Clarence Clemons as significant. He is. But you would have to be of a certain age and coolness to get it. AP preps old folks on the US Supreme Court and US senators. People with official titles.

    Martha Kegel then left these comments:
    I agree with Phoebe.
    And that will be reflected in how his death gets covered in traditional media tomorrow.

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