News station, Korver polar opposites on Rose’s dark day

“NBC Miami reporting that a Derrick Rose Hologram will take over as a starting point guard for the Bulls.”

“NBC Miami reports the Chicago Bulls have lost the Eastern Conference Finals to Thomas Dewey.”

“NBC Miami reporting their baseball team is missing.”

When NBC Miami reported prematurely that Bulls point guard Derrick Rose had torn his ACL – even though the report ultimately proved correct – you can see the importance of how knowing you got it right the first time becomes on Twitter with the actual tweets from people above. In the time the first tweet was launched from NBC Miami on the injury, thousands of tweets exploded in the Twitterverse of how the station was reporting it. NBC Miami then had to put out a tweet to say the news on Rose’s injury was premature – wow, do you think? He hadn’t even been to the hospital yet to have an MRI, but somehow a news outlet in South Beach knows what’s going on with his anterior cruciate ligament??

Boy, did they ever luck out with ultimately getting it right, because prior to that, on Twitter they were all kinds of wrong. I surely hope they didn’t turn around with a “you heard it here first” spin.

On the other hand, let’s celebrate someone who not only got it right but also didn’t have to apologize for it in between – the Bulls’ Kyle Korver. So many athletes put out foolish, PR-nightmare tweets and posts before they have any business doing so, so it’s refreshing when someone from within the organization rises up and posts something thoughtful on Facebook like so:

Right about now, the disbelief has faded, anger has subsided and were all wondering… why? Why. Why. Why Derrick, again? Derrick is more than an MVP to our team. He’s our friend, our brother he inspires us to be the very best we can be, just by who he is and how hard he plays. That he has spent so much time this year hurt, was frustrating. Now that he is out for the rest of the season, well its just plain sad. No one is to blame; what happened, did. We send him our prayers, our love, our good wishes that he heals and comes back stronger, better, healthier than ever before. 

Bulls fans. Now is not the time to ask why or to get bitter. Now is the time to refocus and ask “How are we going to win this Championship?” We have the best Team in the league. This season has proven, we are a TEAM and it has taken us ALL to have the best record. Lets focus on whats ahead. This is an incredible opportunity for All of Us to step up and make it happen. We’re all gonna have to work harder and smarter. We are all gonna have to believe in ourselves. That we are more than the sum of our parts. We need YOU to believe with Us. We need You to believe for Us. We are going to keep going strong. One quarter, one game, one round at a time. Until its over. That’s how we’re gonna do it.

How often can an athlete write something like this when the moment of winning/losing is so fresh? Almost never. Usually it involves a tweet followed by a second one that starts with “What I meant to say was….”

The entire Chicago sports media on that day didn’t put out something so eloquent and in tune with what people were feeling at that moment. Far too easy for most of them to go negative and say, “This team is done.” Wow. How…uninspiring. Especially when you’ve watched a team like this play every game without most of its starters, including Derrick Rose and still have the best record in the NBA. Back to you, Ron and Kathy.

Here’s my point – rapid-fire journalists on Twitter need to remember they’re playing with a loaded gun in the social media realm. It’s going to be hard for them because their instinct is to be the first one breaking the story. Yet it’s dangerous to just get it out there before thinking, “Hey, maybe we should check our sources before posting this to see if that source is actually real.” That’s Journalism 101. They don’t need to overanalyze their tweets to death before publishing, but they have a responsibility that if they want to be taken seriously, there’s going to be thousands of people who will retweet that news, especially the more dramatic it is. And then all of their followers could potentially run with it.

When news that’s done in error is spreading like wildfire, you don’t blame the wildfire. You blame the person who started the wildfire.

Sure, it’s more than a little scary to know what the potential of starting a panic with bad information could be. But it’s the world we’re living in that’s getting faster by the day. When we do screw up, we apologize for it lightning quick. I get that we’re human beings and all make mistakes. The best we can do is try to put a little more thought behind the content we generate rather than rushing to be the first one to say something. The problem isn’t so much the tweet alone but the ensuing effect. If journalists want to continue to be taken seriously, the more of them that set off a Tweetpanic won’t help.

In that sense, I think Kyle Korver reminded us of two things that day:

1) How timeliness and thoughtfulness can and should very much live together in harmony in the social media universe.

2) Great performances in clutch moments don’t always happen during a game.