Remembering Russert: The Wikipedia Question

By SteveK 

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Tom Brokaw broke the news of Tim Russert’s death at 3:39pmET, but as has been relayed before, the news was circulating prior to the announcement. Andrea Mitchell described yesterday how, “all hell broke loose” in the Washington D.C. bureau just after she finished her 1pmET hour.

On Larry King Live Friday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said the network, “knew about it for some time,” but waited until NBC reported it first. The first tip to TVNewser about the news was at 3:00pmET exactly. The New York Post and the New York Times, with the Drudge Report picking up each story, reported the news around 3:24pmET.

But before NBC or Drudge or any other outlet, there was Wikipedia. Businessweek’s Jon Fine writes about a Wikipedia edit made at 3:01pmET to Tim Russert’s page, adding the date of death and describing his work in the past tense (Fine reported the time to be 2:01pmET, but because GMT doesn’t switch for daylight savings, there is currently a four hour difference with EST).

The edit raises questions over who jumped the gun in reporting the news, albeit via Wikipedia. One commenter writes: “That IP address belongs to Internet Broadcasting Systems — the company that runs (for now) the websites of NBC’s O&O’s.”