First or best – which should journalists strive for?

As a journalist who occasionally works on breaking stories (I work at a weekly so not every story is extremely time sensitive), I’ve been thinking a lot about which is better – being faster than my competitors or putting out a better product than my competitors.

Last week Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, came to our city for a little meet and greet (and by “little” I mean “insanely packed” and my media badge was the only thing getting me in that room).

After her speech I ran out to get back to the office and post the story. Traffic never seemed so slow…

I got in, wrote a story, edited my photos and got it online. Then I checked Twitter and found our competitor had posted something about nine minutes before me but it was just two paragraphs saying she had been in town to talk to supporters. From what I can tell they have not updated the online story a week later, but I haven’t seen the print version that came out today.

So, they beat me. They broke the story. I was not happy and was kicking myself for not getting my story up sooner, but is it better to have something up or to have quality up?

This is not just a question for journalist. As readers, what do you think? Do you want to see a blurb saying something happened and check back later for a story or do you want to wait ten extra minutes to see photos and a story?

I always want to do the best I can for my readers. I’m also pretty competitive when it comes to my job and want to be respected in the community as a reliable, professional journalist. So what do you think?


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