"Rumors aren't news…and yet, any reader who tells you they don't want to hear about rumors is lying to you."
This is what my editor told me when I first started working for the newspapers. Over time, I learned how to walk the fine line between delivering what people wanted, and what was allowed under the basic tenets of journalism.
The bottom line is that what people desire and how they believe journalists should act are often two different things. They can't stand to admit it, but it's still a fact. For instance, take the recent unpleasantness concerning game industry insider Ahsan Rasheed (aka "thuway"), which was summarized here and spilled out here . Yep, he was wrong concerning a closed-door demo of the new Uncharted and Naughty Dog even reprimanded him for the mistake.
A few things:
Of course insiders aren't always right. That should be obvious. It's why whenever we report on anything from one of these guys, it's either labeled as a rumor, or we remind the reader to take it with a grain of salt. Thing is, some of these tipsters are occasionally right, which means they're not always incorrect. This is why people are listening to them; any random dope can start saying things on social media. It doesn't make them seers and it doesn't mean anyone will pay any attention.
This leads me to my second point, and it relates to the blatant hypocrisy my editor described. The bottom line is that all those hot rumors by Rasheed and Shinobi got a lot of traction around the 'Net, which means people were clicking, and people were talking. You can't blow up forums and communities one minute, all excited about the prospect of that inside tip, and then condemn the tipster the next. Doesn't work that way, folks. If you really didn't want them to be tipping you, if you really didn't believe a word they said or wrote, you'd pay them no mind, yes?
But you do. You always do. You gave them the attention and the next time another huge tip makes headlines everywhere, bear in mind that you are responsible for generating the traffic and clicks. Especially in this industry, even the biggest real news often can't hold a candle to flaming hot rumors and tips, and that's not because sources report on them. Sources give you the straight news, too, and yet, you choose to pay the most attention to the rumors…therefore, when one of those tips is wrong, you really have no write to step on the soapbox. You really don't.