For anyone who used the Playsation Network on their Playstation 3, the saga of the PSN’s continuing downtime has been difficult to miss. Direct updates from Sony have been scarce and cryptic, leaving many in the dark as to the status of the PSN. One of the major game news sources, Game Informer, recently published an article claiming that the network was back up for developers. Their source for this was a post by a user on a popular video game forum, who they never contacted before quoting.
Now, it would be easy to look at this and feel smug at the lackadaisical nature of video game journalism as opposed to real news. That is until one, say, turns on CNN and sees them using unverified tweets and blog posts as sources. CNN and others are all too pleased to rush into putting out only potentially accurate information. If it turns out right, they were ahead of the curve. If it is wrong, then whoops, sweep it under the rug. You can’t blame the outlet for being wrong since we all knew the risks of trusting speculative information, right?
Getting scoops is a classic part of journalism, but perhaps it is reasonable for consumers to have larger demands of “hard” news than is given to entertainment products. The move towards putting out plausible stories and waiting for the facts to potentially come later to back it up is a disservice to news consumers. The truth deserves better treatment than the latest Madden or Call of Duty.