12 January 2007

Blogging Scoops

A scoop is like a joke. It’s all in the timing and delivery. Just like a good joke can fall flat on its face, if you haven’t got the crowd’s attention or you get the timing wrong, a good scoop can fail for the same reasons.

A Few Thoughts On Timing - Stick or Twist?

Say I had a scoop that embarrassed political opponents of mine, the ideal would be to deliver the said story on a slow news day, on the back of related stories, shortly before an election. However, it’s not always such a good idea to wait. Once a story has been sniffed out, for every day that you hold back the chance that somebody else will find the story and make the splash increases and it’s unlikely that they will have the same objectives as you. Also, if it is apparent that you have been "sitting" on a story, people will question your motives – possibly undermining the plausibility of the story itself. As with jokes, there is no right answer on this – it’s instinct.

A Few Thoughts On Delivery – Spearhead or United Front

One of the main decisions you have to make with a scoop is how you plan to deliver it to the world. Again, many factors come into play. I think that if you are very confident in your scoop, have some profile and are prepared to be the lightning rod for counter-play, then taking the role of spearhead for the scoop is best. You have the advantage of retaining control and whilst you will inevitably take flak from your opponents, your "side" will undoubtedly coalesce around you – a recipe for a big story. The united front is advisable for those with lower profile. If you take this approach you may try to take some responsibility for co-ordinating the delivery of the scoop, but you certainly lose control and key elements or factors of the scoop may get lost in the process. The united front has the feature of more "owners" of the story which can be a strength, but increases the chance of misunderstandings and internal dissent.

Do you have any comments re the above? Are there other factors to consider? Any related stories to share?

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