Blogs can publish stories faster than online news sites

I was thrilled yesterday when I could publish on my blog that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had won the vote of confidence even before the news appeared on the BBC, CNN and several other online news sites including some of the major Indian newspapers’. It was simple really. I posted an entry on my blog as soon as I heard the news on the BBC. One of the BBC’s Indian correspondents said in an interview that Singh was leading by 21 votes in the ongoing vote count and I published it. The BBC published the news a little later. I searched Google News and Google Blog Search and saw the news had already been published in a BlogSpot blog which was following the livecast of the vote count in parliament. But I saw no other site with the news at the time.

There must have been others I missed. My own site was malfunctioning, so it might have slipped the notice of others too.

But that’s not the point. All I am saying is how fast news travels on the Net and news can be broken by well-informed bloggers and other individuals — and need not necessarily come first from official sources or the mainstream media.

In Singapore, of course, reporting something before it’s picked up by the local media is as easy as stealing candy from a kid. I realised that when I was following the stories about Citigroup, UBS and Merrill Lynch during the subprime crisis. The Singapore sovereign wealth funds GIC and Temasek Holdings have invested heavily in the financial institutions hit by the crisis and were taking a beating. But not all the news was getting into the local media. The foreign media had quite a few interesting stories. But whether it’s advisable to report something about Singapore before it’s picked up by the local media I really don’t know. I would rather blog and be bland than blog and get into hot water.

Indian government survives: nationalists, communists lose

Manmohan_singh722

Hurrah! Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has won the vote of
confidence by 19 votes. So much for the Hindu nationalists and the
communists who tried to bring down the government and wreck the Indo-US
civilian nuclear energy agreement.

The final count shows the Government won 275 votes and the opposition 256 votes, says the BBC. The government needed 273 votes to win in the 543-member parliament.

The BBC adds: If the government had lost the vote, India would have faced early elections, casting the nuclear deal in doubt.

There was brief confusion over the counting process. Most voting was
electronic, but about 50 votes were cast on paper which delayed the
count.

At least four MPs were too ill to vote from the chamber of the
543-seat house itself, but it is still not clear why so many MPs cast
paper ballots.

But the government managed to scrape through with the support of smaller parties and independent members.

India faces a general election next year and many political parties
have used the debate over the nuclear deal to stake out their positions
ahead of the polls.