How instant news can impact share price–Apple and the false heart attack report

October 3, 2008

I just blogged again about citizen journalism and how the mainstream media is adopting citizen journalists as part of their news crews. They are not careful to check the facts–and that is a huge risk for any organization who might find itself in the news.

Today, Apple stock took a 10 point hit this morning based on a false “i-report” on CNN. A citizen “journalist” reported that Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, had a heart attack. It was false and the stock soon recovered.

But, CEOs all around the world ought to be having semi-heart attacks about this danger. How fast will organization respond to a false i-report? Do you think you can count on the CNNs to get the story straight before it appears on their website? Not a chance. The only protection is putting in place the policies, people, plan and platform to respond.


4 Responses to “How instant news can impact share price–Apple and the false heart attack report”

  1. calvininjax Says:

    It is indeed a worrying trend, particularly as iReport boasts that it is unedited, which loosely translated means unchecked regarding the veracity of the material it publishes.

    I am not sure policies could be put in place. Probably the best solution is for someone who is maligned by one of their so-called reports to sue them for every penny they have got, just as newspapers are sued for libel.

    It is a common misperception that anything published on the Internet is above the law. It is not and a case in point is the following story:

  2. Neil Chapman Says:

    Spot on blog, as ever. However, I’d add a general comment about mainstream media’s use of citizen journalists. Citizens have always been the witnesses, commentators, vox poppers that reporters turn to in order to add authenticity to their stories. What is changing, largely because technology allows anyone to be an information publisher, is that in their drive for speed media organizations are making the mistake of de-filtering access to their channels. For me, the reputation of mainstream media organisations rests on two things – speed and accuracy. Their skills, reputation and even their survival lie in achieving the right balance between the two. For me, if they abandon the primacy of accuracy then they are doomed as many commentators suggest.

  3. Robert K. Lanier Says:

    The key to excellent media is accuracy and speed. Unfortunately some mediums, in an effort to be #1, would rather go the route of speed, retraction, and (if limited public damage occurs) hopeful forgiveness.

    As media progressed, they searched for more efficient ways to expedite information to the public. Print shortened articles and added colorful imagery, television added the split-screen and the crawl…and with the creation of the internet, all mediums believed they found the “golden ticket” which provides the public with accurate, 24-hour instant news.

    And just when you thought there couldn’t be anything faster than the internet/pop-up/tweeter/crawl combo…we discover Steve Jobs is alive.

  4. […] it also it seems somewhat absolves them of the heavy responsibility of accuracy and objectivity. Note the debacle of an i-reporter on CNN falsely reporting Steve Job’s death with the resulting short term stock crash. I don’t […]

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