Mistakes on breaking news stories: are they really a big deal?

Some false reports said Gabriele Giffords died in the Arizona shooting. ()
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The Lineup collects the media stories, big and small, that are on our radar each day.

Over the past few years, as digital developments have accelerated the pace of journalism, there have been lots of examples of news outlets getting facts wrong in the rush to get a fast-moving story in front of audiences. Two stories of mass shootings covered live on television and online that included significant errors in early reports provide immediate examples: Gabby Giffords and the Newtown massacre.

These moments are embarrassments, sure, but they also tend to occasion long periods of hand-wringing and finger-wagging that, in addition to being boring and repetitive, often seem emotionally overcharged.

Which raises the question: Are such errors indicative of a larger problem in American media?

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"There's not a crisis," said Jim Roberts, who recently took a buyout from The New York Times and will soon start a new gig as Reuters' executive digital editor.

A prolific tweeter seen by many as a bridge between old media and new, Roberts was talking about the issue during a Columbia Journalism School panel over the weekend.

"I'm not even sure there is a problem," he said. "There's nothing I would consider a new problem. It's certainly a challenge that grows exponentially with the explosion of sources and the explosion of purveyors of information. ... There will always been confusion. There will always be misinformation. That is more of the challenge these days of the modern news media. I don't think it's a crisis. I don't necessarily think it's a problem. But it's an incredible challenge."

Now that that's been cleared up, you can watch the rest of the more-than hour-long discussion on "how we can all improve social media by practicing new methods that can help us distinguish fact from fiction" in the space below:

On Capital...

F.B.I. destroyed file on Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, 'Times' publisher behind the Pentagon Papers

In other news...

Keach Hagey reports on how Meredith "has evolved into a diversified publishing company ... by focusing on titles with a strong female orientation, a genre which has proved more resilient than other genres." [The Wall Street Journal]

Michael Wolff on the "fall of Time Inc." [The Guardian]

AllThingsD and News Corp. are considering a breakup. [Reuters]

Joe Weisenthal has been promoted to executive editor of Business Insider. [NYT/Media Decoder]

Janice Min's Hollywood Reporter is the new Vanity Fair. [The New York Times]

Ben Smith, Sunday Styles edition. [The New York Times]

And the winner's of this year's Polk Awards are... [The New York Times]

Quote of the day...

Let’s stipulate that Mr. Hansen’s investigative reporting into the “Great Omaha Manhole Fire Photo of 2013” is not a scoop for the ages. But at a time when almost everyone is beyond caring what is real or fake onscreen, knowing that, in this case, someone who is paid to get to the bottom of things did just that is somewhat comforting. And it’s a useful reminder that even though daily newspapers are a threatened species, they continue to have value in the informational narrative. ... All of which serves as a reminder to reporters — and those who read their work — that if journalists take their eyes off the screen, leave their cubicle and actually go out and talk with people, they might discover something that is interesting as heck.

David Carr

On Twitter...

On TV...

Final word (maybe?) on the Howard Kurtz-Bill O'Reilly showdown: