How many times have you seen a TV news channel claim to be “first on the scene” at various events?
The idea being, if you’re choosing between what news channel to watch, you’ll probably go with the one most likely give you the scoop first.
But being “first” in journalism doesn’t inherently equal the best coverage. Being first has nothing to do with research, with finding good sources, with telling a good story.
It just means you’re there first – and to so many news outlets, it’s considered crucial.
Enter Google’s Hot Trends.
Hot Trends shows the current most popular Google searches. In this month alone, it’s where I first learned about the NIU shootings, the lunar eclipse and the B-2 Spirit crash.
When it comes to speed, how can a news organization compete with the thousands of bloggers, searchers and camera phones? And really, why bother?
From my mainstream news outlets, I want depth, accuracy and intelligent analysis. Speed is something I don’t expect them to logistically be able to compete on.
So instead of constantly checking CNN, The NY Times or The Huffington Post, I start with Google’s Hot Trends.
I’ll let Google (or the searchers?) be first on the scene, and then look to the journalists to do what they do best.
Note: Here’s a more in-depth analysis of Trends, straight from Google.