IT’S NOT A SCOOP UNLESS OTHERS REPORT ON IT. My caption for the last post said that Gleanings in Bee Culture had gotten a scoop on the flights by the Wright brothers. There is a sense in which it would not be recognized as a scoop because no competitor followed up on the story. John Lanchester comments on Scientific American’s refusal to publish on the report of the flights (or to investigate it): “So they don’t believe it, because if it were true, somebody would have told them so – leaving aside the fact that somebody already had.”
I think this illustrates a principle of journalism. It’s not a story unless other journalists also publish a story. And if there is no competitor to have beaten, it couldn’t have been a scoop.