Timeliness is a dimension of completeness.
Valuing completeness means that we have a responsibility to report on important matters in a timely fashion. Our audience should be able to expect that our coverage include the best information we can deliver about the most important stories unfolding at any particular time. When news is breaking, we should be on top of it.
But our responsibility to be timely doesn’t lessen our need to be accurate and fair. We don’t, for example, report rumors. When an unverified story spreads far enough that the rumor is itself news, we should use it as a trigger for reporting. And in breaking news situations, we have a heightened responsibility to tell our audience exactly what we know and how we know it, as well as to emphasize what’s still unknown or unverified. Judicious transparency can help to mitigate some of the challenges posed by our need to be timely.
October 24, 2011