Muhammad Saleem over at Mu Life — a great new blogger I’ve recently discovered who focuses on social media — posted something about how Digg and Netscape had the news that Donald Rumsfeld had resigned long before Google News (long in this case being 20 minutes). His post was noticed and linked to by Steve Rubel at Micropersuasion and by Jeremiah Owyang, among others.
As I pointed out to Muhammad and Steve, however, it looks to me like Comedy Central actually broke the news a full 35 minutes before either Digg or Netscape got to it. If anything could reinforce how disrupted the journalism business has become, it’s the fact that a comedy channel can break news — which may not be all that surprising, considering that surveys show many younger people get their news from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.
Of course, as Matt Sparkes notes on his blog, Digg and Netscape didn’t “break” the Rumsfeld news — they were simply the first to link to the Associated Press story. That’s not really the same thing. So it’s not really fair for Muhammad to title his post “Why Socially Driven News Is Better.” Faster, maybe — but not necessarily better.
That doesn’t mean Digg and Netscape and similar tools aren’t still a threat to newspapers, mind you, since in many cases newspapers just print the Associated Press stories too. And that is becoming harder and harder to justify.