This is just a place for discussion around the 'Breaking News' flag and its relevance and importance.
at 10:33 on August 24th, 2008
I think that GE should have a way to know what SE are on duty. There were no staff flagging stories that night. No way to send an email to a staff member to say hey we have a story here that is breaking.
Staff my discourage the flagging of ones stories, but you have given us the privilege to flag breaking and news wanted. The complaint that I flagged a story to move up is ridiculous as I have a large readership as it is. I use the breaking flag only when it is clear that I have the story first and it is indeed breaking as in the Obama - Biden pick.
Hundreds of thousands of people in America had signed up to get that info. NowPublic is a news site. We had it way before most news services. I saw the confirmation via a satellite feed with John King. I wrote the story at 12:55 just two minutes after a confirmation. I did not flag the story as breaking until I looked around NP by using the search and tag search (Jordan says it takes up to 15 minutes to update fully) When I saw that No one had confirmed the story I hit the breaking tag at 1:26 am. By that time CNN, FOX, and the AP confirmed the story. John King from CNN chatted back to CNN in Washington via satellite and said he had to sources confirming the pick.
The controversy here was that Big T had caught at 12:00 am that Biden had a Secret Service detail being dispatched. Drudge had it on his site and it was ABC. I found it via Politico to ABC. Big T got that first. Now many would think OK that is it. It is Biden. I even wrote Big T and said BINGO. Meaning it is now probable that Biden is it.
I have been in Public relations in Politics. I have have been aware of situations in previous elections were the PR folks would have all the potential vice-presidential candidate fly to a venue, do the same things, to throw off the Press. They do their best to keep a hat over whatever they are doing by duplication. There was still another candidate who did not come out and say, "its not me" We knew Bayh and Kaine were out. I had another story going since the beginning of the night. One the announcement did not come at 7:00 pm I had a story called, Obama, Bayh Bumper stickers, Don't buy it. Later I added to the title "VP watch" as folks were coming out and saying they were not the candidate. When Big T put up his story, I added a link to his story.
The problem came when another user complained that they were on another story and talking about the possible tickets and before I put up the flag, The user put, earlier coverage here and had a link back to Big Ts story. I have always added links to other stories. Anyone who reads my stuff knows that I add links to stories who agree and disagree. This user mad assumptions and had not followed my stream of stories from 3 days prior. One was Biden probable VP Pick, Source says. In the body of that story I related that the sources had some pretty good evidence and barring some thing big, Biden is the pick.
So the bottom line is this was a misunderstanding, buy a user who didn't know all the facts.
Now regarding flagging my own stories. If I have no way of knowing if a staff member is on, what do I do with breaking coverage? Let it go? Let someone else have it? Are we a news service or not? The staff needs to come up with some way to let us know who is on (Jordan, can you do that?) The GE need to have information to go up the chain of command to say, "hey I have something that is breaking, do you agree?" Without that, I have no way of finding a SE. It takes time to look through all the stories and see who is working.
There should be a list somewhere of who is on for the GE and if there is no SE on then we need to designate a couple of GE to be on and one should know who is own.
Cross training is important. I did not know you all shunned flagging our own stories. If I abused it, then I should be punished in some way. I stand by my actions, but may have flagged Big T as breaking as well. at 12:00 when he told me about it.
I ask all users, if they think they have breaking news, email one of the GE or SE and let them evaluate it.
The idea that a GE can do anything and we look like we are above the rules is incorrect. Who else complained about my actions? anyone? anyone? There is no guidelines on flagging breaking news. There is no way to get a second opinion.
NP Staff I am going to ask you (I have before) get a real time list available for the GE and others to know what staff member is available and this issue would not be in the forum today.
It is not that hard to have a separate page that shows which SE are logged in. You should also add a list of the GE who are signed in. That way all users have a way to contact the one who is working and get results quickly. A chain of command. Let all users know which Wranglers are on, Wranglers have a list of what GE are on and GE have a list of the SE that are on. How about it guys?
at 22:05 on October 10th, 2010