New York -- A lively debate on speed versus accuracy in journalism broke out at the News Roundtable: The Importance of News Content to Hispanic Viewers session at the Hispanic TV Summit here Wednesday.
Keith Clinkscales, CEO of Revolt Media & TV, said the digital world gives reporters the chance to break news with great urgency-and also to quickly correct stories that didn't quite get all the facts. "If you do it too often," he warned, "you begin to erode your credibility with the audience."
Clinkscales spoke of a "mistake of aggression" as "the best mistake to make," but some news professionals on the panel saw that attitude as too permissive.
"I think it's better to be late than be wrong," said Juan Manuel Benitez, political reporter at NY1 Noticias, who spoke of the "ego-driven" culture of trying to scoop the competition by a few seconds before checking all the facts.
Clinkscales said the audience will forgive a news outlet that gets it right "90%...95%" of the time, and reiterated that breaking news in fast fashion is a core value at the new music network. "Our journalists that get beat (on a story) are going to have a problem," he said.
Benitez posited that the individual reporter's reputation is that much more prominent in social media. "If you damage that personal brand name, you're done," he said. "You're finished."
Cynthia Hudson, SVP and general manager, CNN en Español and Hispanic Strategy, CNN/U.S., acknowledged that it was a "delicate dance" between being fast and being error-free.
Dade Hayes, executive editor, Broadcasting & Cable, moderated the spirited discussion.
The panelists spoke of the urgency in reaching the Hispanic consumer, which was noted represents one out of three Millennials-and growing. Beau Ferrari, executive VP of operations, Univision Networks¸ said Fusion, the news channel launching later this month from Univision and ABC News, would feature "humor and irreverence" to spice up the news mix. David Javerbaum, former Daily Show executive producer, is creating a show that's similar in spirit for Fusion. "We'll program every single show like it's a 24/7 channel," Ferrari said.
The panelists also acknowledged the challenge of supplying the right mix of content for all media platforms, especially with a growing faction of the viewership looking first to the mobile screen. "In their minds, it is all interchangeable," said Hudson, who added that depth in reporting goes a long way in keeping the various platforms stocked.
Benitez stressed that Hispanic news is hardly a niche field anymore-it is mainstream. News organizations that don't recognize that, he said, "are in trouble."