At least two newsworthy events happened on Monday afternoon. 1) There were huge, deadly explosions at the Boston Marathon. 2) The Pulizer Prizes were announced.
At around 2:50 p.m. EST, eyewitnesses began tweeting about the explosions and sharing pictures on Twitter.* News organizations rushed to find out what was going on. Twenty-four minutes later, the New York Times issued a breaking news tweet, splashed a breaking-news banner across its homepage, and sent a push notification to mobile devices. But the Times’ newsflash wasn’t about the carnage in Boston: It was about its four Pulitzer Prize wins.
Perhaps the Times had second thoughts about their jubilation, because the third Pulitizer-related tweet appears to have now been deleted.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time in recent years that the news media has been caught celebrating ourselves rather than covering crucial news. In 2010, all three cable news channels covered the White House Correspondent’s Dinner rather than the Times Square bombing plot that was foiled during the event.
Correction, April 15, 2013: This post originally misstated the time eyewitnesses began tweeting about the explosions.