Jeff Jarvis wrote another prophetic blog post yesterday on the Buzz Machine about the evolution of news writing and the collaborative news process. This time, specifically in response to the New York Times’ latest article that blames tech blogs for breaking stories early and spreading rumors without confirming sources or facts.

Jarvis proves that corporations can address crises, much more easily than in print media – all they have to do is quickly insert themselves into the online conversation.


In the original New York Times article, Damon Darlin wrote of two recent stories that broke online and then were quickly debunked:“Neither story was true. Not that it mattered to the authors of the posts. They suspected the rumor was groundless when they wrote the items…”

Jarvis responded that the new news process confirms facts with their audiences instead of broadcasting them as true, and reintroduced the new news process. I believe this chart should be displayed on the side of any public relations or corporate communications professional’s cubicle:

As Jarvis explains:

“It’s a matter of timing, of the order of things, of the process of journalism. Newspaper people see their articles as finished products of their work. Bloggers see their posts as part of the process of learning.”

So what does this disparity in news reporting mean to the future of public relations? That engaging and defending a corporate reputation doesn’t have to be as difficult as it appears. As long as companies successfully track their reputations online and know how to respond immediately, it’s much easier to clarify the initial blog post than if something untrue or misleading were written in print. Corporations can have an overwhelming part of the online conversation as long as they know what is being said about them in real time.