Before I even start this story, I will totally admit that back in my days in the TV newsroom, I was totally guilty of this.
Today when the DOMA ruling came down from the Supreme court, TV networks raced to be first on the air with the story.
The New York Times Brian Stelter tweeted that NBC was first with news. But, Bloomberg says they claims they were first by at least 19 seconds.
19 seconds Really?!
What's the difference if you beat someone by 19 seconds, 5 minutes or even a half hour? Is it really going to impact the lives of your viewers?
I'm betting that there are people at work right now that still don't know what the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA was. They'll find out when they get home or maybe when they log onto the Internet or pick up the morning paper.
Websites are posting video of TV interns running to give the SCOTUS decision to the correspondents.
So, are we to assume that Bloomberg's intern was faster than the others? Will ABC hire Usain Bolt next time, so they assured to be first on the air with the ruling?
When you step away from the newsroom and look at this whole "we were first" crap, you will see just how childish it looks.
I can guarantee viewers could give a crap if you beat the other guys by a minute 20 seconds.
But, it's not totally the networks fault. Their are TV critics and websites keeping track of who was first. The networks know this and they strive to be first.
You can look no further than the Boston bombings and see that being first doesn't mean jack shit if it's not right. I'm looking at you CNN.
I would urge TV stations and networks to slow down, get it right and don't really give a hoot if the other guy beats you by 19 seconds.
I can promise you one other thing.
Someday you are going to leave the newsroom. Whether you retire, quit TV or get laid off or fired, you will leave TV news.
When you do, you will slowly start looking at news more as a viewer than an insider. You will start to look at how stupid and childish so much of this stuff looks like from the outside looking in.
As I said at the beginning, I was guilty of the same thing I'm speaking out against right now. But, I also see what the viewer sees and I can say....it's time to make a change.