President Obama's announcement of his support for same-sex marriages this afternoon was touted as a major win for network TV, getting the scoop over cable and the noisy clamor of the Internet. Yet, what looked to be an airtight scoop for the network appears to have been bested once again by the relentless efforts of journalists on Twitter.
At 2:50 p.m. EST, roughly eight minutes before ABC was to break into daytime programming with a special report, Reuters deputy social media editor Matthew Keys noticed and tweeted a URL slug essentially leaking the Obama announcement.
ABC News may have accidentally leaked Obama gay marriage announcement. See URL slug - abcn.ws/JySAdj— Matthew Keys (@ProducerMatthew) May 9, 2012
Minutes later, at 2:55 p.m. EST Keys tweeted a screengrab of the ABC News video, to prove the legitimacy.
Just in case ABC News pulls the clip again, here is a screen grab - yfrog.com/kjzevp— Matthew Keys (@ProducerMatthew) May 9, 2012
So how does one catch this kind of thing? Keys responded to Adweek just after he broke the news via direct message on Twitter: "I was filtering Google results by date for site "abcnews.go.com," came across that, noticed the URL structure was the same to what we used at KGO, which is an ABC owned-and-operated station [in San Francisco]. I put two and two together."
While it goes without saying that the interview was a huge win for ABC News—securing the big interview and the proprietary footage makes this one of the bigger days in recent memory for the network—Keys' scoop also showcases the intensity of the current news cycle, where no exclusive is safe. ABC had advised employees not to tweet the news and did an admirable job keeping the news from leaking, only to be foiled by a former affiliate employee with a keen and obsessive eye for news.