Ho Lee Fuk: KTVU-TV demonstrates why getting it right is better than getting it first

If you haven’t see this video yet, strap in. Hilarity is a’fixin’ to ensue.

SFGate has the gory details here. The key, it seems, is this part:

KTVU Channel 2 News owned this breaking news story with a number of firsts!

– First on-air.
– First on-line.
– First with alerts to mobile devices.
– First on Twitter & Facebook.
– First with aerial shots from KTVU NewsChopper 2.
– First with a live reporter from the scene.
– First live interview with anyone connected to someone on the flight.

[KTVU news director Lee] Rosenthal is quoted in the promo: “Being first on air and on every platform in all aspects of our coverage was a great accomplishment, but being 100% accurate, effectively using our great sources and social media without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air, is what we are most proud of as a newsroom.”

Yes. Especially that “without putting a single piece of erroneous information on our air” part.

Let’s be honest. We live in a society where the incentive isn’t for press agencies (and, for the heck of it, let’s include local broadcast outlets in that category) to get it right. The incentive is to get it first so they can use “first with breaking news” as part of their marketing. Ever since the first Gulf War we’ve been conditioned to value the scoop over everything else. After all, if you screw it up, you can always say “we’re now getting additional details” and thus you can cover up the fact that you got it completely fucking wrong with the “developing story” graphic.

In an-online apology, KTVU general manager Tom Raponi said “We are reviewing our procedures to ensure this type of error does not happen again.”

I wonder what those procedures will look like. Here’s a guess. This botch will have more or less zero impact on the station’s ratings, thereby ratifying their emphasis on first first first!!!

So the new procedure will probably look something like this:

Hey, guys, if a person in the story is named Rosie Palm, Anita Mann, Heywood Jablome, Dick Hertz, Jack Offenback, Eileen Dover, Pat Myckok, Phil Atio, Seymour Butts, Stacey Rhect, Titus Balsac, I.P. Freehly, Al Coholic, Oliver Clozoff, Jaques Strapp, Mike Rotch, Hugh Jass, Ivana Tinkle, Ollie Tabooger, Heywood U. Kuddulmee, Amanda Hugginkiss or Drew P. Wiener, get confirmation. Also, you know, Ho Lee Fuk.

2 replies »

  1. I find myself suddenly remembering a line from Werewolves of London:

    “He was lookin for a place called Lee Ho Fuks
    Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein”