Commentary

Where's the Scoop? And Who Got it First?

When it comes to business entertainment, the stock market moves to its own rhyme and reason and reality show. Entertainment business editors obviously do the same.

The Associated Press reported today that television reality hit-maker Mark Burnett recently spoke to the New York Daily News about his company reinventing a show for convicted TV personality Martha Stewart. Shares of troubled Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia rose nearly 5 percent yesterday, according to the daily newspaper.

Which all makes sense - and doesn't.

Some months back, Daily Variety, also reported the news of Mark Burnett wanting to create a show with Martha Stewart. Her company's stock probably also climbed that day.

Last week, syndicated entertainment TV shows, such as "Entertainment Tonight," had a sound bite from Mark Burnett - claiming that he would like to resurrect Stewart's perfect homemaking career in a new show. No doubt her company's stock also peaked up a bit last week as well.

All these stories seem suggest some sort of exclusive news. Who got the real scoop? Seemingly, Daily Variety did. But that's not what's important here. The real story is the confusion these reports give to business readers - something that occurs more and more. Modern editors are rushed and overworked, and stuff happens - which leaves business readers in a quandary. How can they tell when these events actually happened, or who actually gets credit, or what, if anything, they should do about it?

Rushing the news has some natural disastrous consequences. CBS News executives could tell you some stories this week, I'm sure. The entertainment press has it hard too. Bloggers and Internet sites are adding to the churn of entertainment information - all with uneven results.

Now that the speed of news goes faster than a CBS News limo racing up Sixth Avenue with some important memos, it's hard to decipher in which millisecond an entertainment business exclusive occurred.

Mark Burnett blinks, and markets move. Yes, that is an interestingly angle especially coming from someone who sold T-shirts on the beach in Venice, Calif. some years ago.

Burnett's style now is a finer grade of fabric. Stewart, in jail, could be wearing T-shirts - with some rose embellishments, no doubt. News of Stewart's wardrobe will be revealed in the months ahead - probably in many exclusive style reports.

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