Thursday, April 10, 2008

Evolution of a Gossip Exclusive - Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz are Engaged

photo courtesy of Times Square GossipI may be giving away too much information about my investigative reporting techniques - HA! - but couldn't leave this one languishing on the trail.

The titillating "stop the presses" news about the engagement of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz seems to have started with an exclusive dish at in Touch magazine sometime yesterday.

As of posting time, blondesaresoout had updated all her friends at Friends or Enemies with "breaking news" about the engagement approximately nineteen hours prior. No permalinks here, folks. You'll just have to trust that it came from the horse's mouth.

This morning about 9:00 a.m. their time, Starpulse ran with the item as if it broke the story. No credit to in Touch. Ouch.

About seven hours ago article post time, the story began to rise dramatically in the Wikio entertainment world. It has four votes currently. Wonder how many it will have by the time you visit the link.

From there it became fodder for the gossip masses. At least Blackberry had the decency to credit the original source.

Ashlee and Pete's engagement news is quickly making its way across the blogosphere. At posting, The Hollywood Gossip led the pack, taking credit for the story about eight hours ago ahead of other blogs hoping to make a splash. Maybe it's just my computer, but some content was blocked as spyware, so you may not want to follow this link. I just find it amusing that the "Free Britney" reporter gave credit for the story to US Weekly.

Us magazine buzzed the story as an exclusive today, I guess because they added tacky gossip about Ashlee's possible pregnancy. Can't discount the possibility of a hush-hush pregnancy now can we? Don't ask me how that somehow elevates the story into exclusive territory. But many bloggers probably won't take the time to investigate, and soon the real in Touch exclusive will be just another faded memory.

Does an exclusive remain an exclusive news item if the online community gives the credit to another source?

That was a rhetorical question.

By this evening, the mainstream media will have the story as leading news. It will be interesting to see who gets the credit for the exclusive.