Elin Nordegren, the former Mrs. Tiger Woods, gave her first interview — and what she says will be her last — to People Magazine. Immediately, every other entertainment press outlet picked up the story, citing the interview with People. E! Online put it this way:
Her divorce to Tiger Woods is final and in a new interview with People, the Swedish beauty breaks her long-suffering silence, saying that she’s “been though hell” but now feels “stronger than I ever have.”
Elin tells PEOPLE, “I’m so embarrassed that I never suspected — not a one. For the past 3 1/2 years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school.”
In each case, the media outlet that didn’t get the interview provided a link for readers to follow, which is writing-for-the-Web 101.
You’ll not find a more competitive bunch in all of journalism than the gossip or entertainment press, and yet they’re more than willing to provide link and reference love to each other when one gets a scoop. Their willingness to do this is clearly a part of the process of covering niche news, but why isn’t this the normal practice among so-called “real” journalists and especially at the local level?
It’s because we’re more interested in self-promotion than the news, and this is evident in our silence on matters until we “get confirmation” for ourselves, as if no other news organization is capable of presenting the news properly. The story isn’t a story unless and until we say it is, and we wonder why people are losing faith in what we do. The entertainment press — and the tech press — recognize that “the” story is a story that needs to be shared with their readers. Who cares what source gets credit?
We’re afraid that if we “source” anybody else in the biz, we might lose a reader. After all, they might discover that our competitor does it better or that the reader might discover something about our competitor that they like more than us. And so rather than inform our readers, we deny them the story until we can prove (to ourselves?) that we can get the same thing.
I’m afraid the only people we’re fooling are ourselves, for access to everybody’s version of the news is a touchscreen or mouse click away.
Transparency and authenticity are two new values for journalism in a hyperconnected world. In these areas, the entertainment press runs circles around us regularly.