There was a bit of a kerfuffle on Friday evening when TechCrunch posted a story headlined: Did Last.fm Just Hand Over User Listening Data To the RIAA? – where they “reported” on a rumor that Last.fm had handed over a bunch of data to the RIAA so the RIAA could track down pirates of the new U2 album . The answer to the headline question is an unequivocal “no!”. The folks at Last.fm would never do that, and they have denied it in no uncertain terms.
But still two days later, the headline stands on the front page of TechCrunch, and only readers who venture past the fold will see mention that Last.fm has denied the rumor. Why doesn’t TechCrunch change the headline or post prominently in the first paragraph that Last.fm has denied it the rumor? Why is TechCrunch posting a story based on a single source? No doubt, such headlines bring lots of links and readers to TechCrunch, but it is not responsible journalism. Reporting on rumor, gossip and subsequently failing to correct the false reporting is just bad journalism.