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.