We’re on top of that story

We’re on top of that story
: When Janet Jackson’s top came off, Adrian Holovaty saw more than a breast. He saw the future of news. And he’s right.

He happened into the Super Bowl during halftime:

Well, we all know what happened during that performance. And I saw it — live. Er, I thought I saw it. I wasn’t sure. The camera cut away so quickly that I couldn’t really tell what’d happened.

So I did what any self-respecting Internet-junkie would do: I flipped open my laptop and hit the Web.

CNN had nothing. MSNBC had nothing. Neither did the New York Times, Washington Post or Chicago Tribune. Google News didn’t say anything about it, either. I checked a bunch of other big-media sites but couldn’t find any coverage.

I began to think I’d just been delusional. Then I checked Fark.

Fark.com — a deranged mix of quirky news-article links, hilarious Photoshop antics, incestuous user comments, and a healthy dose of porn — had the story. In my estimation, it’d been less than 15 minutes since the halftime show ended — and Farkers were already talking about it….

Read the archived comment thread to see the story unfold. There were first-person accounts of watching the event. There was background information. There was analysis and piecing-together of the facts. And, most importantly, there was an effort to distribute any and all raw information about the incident, mostly in the form of high-resolution TV-screen-grabs and video.

It was clear that all of this was fueled by a desire to get to the bottom of the story — a desire not unlike that of a professional reporter.

Could this have been a glimpse of the future? Could a much more traditional news story be covered in the same way, given the right mix of a dedicated audience and enabling technology?

: Update: What goes around comes around. [via the comments]

  • http://weisblogg.pitas.com marc weisblott

    I liked the first comment following Holovaty’s post, that begins: “It reminds me of Sept. 11 …” Yes, me too.

  • KMK

    This little snip is from the Red Herring blog.
    A TiVo moment to bust open the market
    Personal video recorder (PVR) maker TiVo said that the replay activity of 20,000 customers whose usage it was monitoring during the Super Bowl on Sunday spiked by 180 percent………………It was the TiVo moment seen round the world.
    http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/ptech/02/03/television.tivo.reut/index.html
    TiVo said that particular halftime stunt was the most replayed moment not only of the Super Bowl but of all TV moments that the young company has ever measured………
    One notable TiVo user apparently unimpressed with the performance ……… FCC chairman Michael Powell, who launched an investigation into the bare-breasted matter. Powell is so taken with TiVo that he once referred to it as “God’s machine.”
    Is the FCC going to try to censor art so much that they take us back to the time when networks were only allowed to show Elvis from the chest up?

  • Max

    A Fark a day keeps the shrink away.

  • http://www.jkamos.com amos

    Holovaty: “It was clear that all of this was fueled by a desire to get to the bottom of the story.”
    What was clear to me is that Americans wanted to see boobies.

  • http://hubrisfortyros.blogspot.com/ Dan Herzlich

    Here’s my take: Just as Dean’s scream was his last attempt of attracting a buzz so too this is boredcast television trying to compete with the Web, cable, etc.
    This was CBS’s hail mary pass and lo and behold they upstaged themselves with the actual football game.
    Question is now, what to do with the NEXT superbawd halftime show? You had kid schlock with the american flag poncho and the infamous trio of boobs onstage. How ya gonna top dat?
    Maybe they should start showing some T&A on the network news broadcasts; that’s where viewership is dropping the fastest.
    My solution: fine CBS $10 million and use the money for shelters for battered women. End of story.
    DH

  • jg70124

    “In my estimation, it’d been less than 15 minutes since the halftime show ended…”
    I found a link to an image that was posted on a Treo hardware forum (at treo.tc), of all places, about 5 minutes after the halftime show ended.

  • http://www.adrants.com Steve Hall

    This same behavior played itself out across many weblogs and community groups that night and into the following days. More information could be had from these sites than could be had from the major news sites which simply parotted back the press releases they were sent. Minimal analysis. No commentary. It just now (today and yesterday) that major media are offering opinion. The are slow, slow, SLOW to move on news items.
    I, too flipped open my immediately after I saw the boob shot and, like Adrian Holovaty, found nothing anywhere until I saw Drudge’s so called “exclusive” on the story. Basically, I had the entire story before I saw it covered at all in any major media outlet.

  • http://www.joemaller.com Joe Maller
  • tbond

    Fark and all the other weblogs are truly the future. Now the power of the truth doesn’t lie in the hands of the few might control barons. This leads me to believe that some 9/11 incident will happen on the internet for them to try to shut it down. Either that or they will come out with an Internet 2 which they can control the content.

  • http://www.randomramblings.com annette

    As a strong and loyal Fark.com reader, I for one am impressed with our new booby overlords.

  • darrinator

    I loved Janet’s hot cocoa sampler box.

    /can’t believe that wasn’t said earlier