During an acceptance speech, Anchor and Managing Editor at CBS News Scott Pelley, reflects on American Journalism and the challenges that are to come.

Pelley shares his insights on the wisdom of Fred Friendly’s phrase, ” If you are first people will forget, but if you are wrong people will never forget.”

He says that journalism has not changed, yet the world that we are living in is changing and the fire of “My first thought is my best thought,” has made its way into newsrooms across the country.

Pelley calls out Social Media, “that is not news,” but gossip instead.


I believe Pelley provides some great food for thought in his Fred Friendly acceptance speech. I agree with Fred Friendly’s  words, that if you are wrong people will never forget. There is a strong parallel toward journalism and first impressions. One bad first impression/misreported information and you could lose your potential reader for a long time.

The notion of “My first thought is my best thought,” can certainly be seen by amateur journalists and online publishers. This idea travels the whole internet to places like Facebook, Reddit, and other social platforms. It will not take long to find someone who says something “inappropriate” online that they  would never say in a public forum.

While Pelley has some legitimacy in calling Social Media gossip, it may be increasingly hard to argue the incredible value that Twitter has added to American Journalism over the last few years. Twitter helps bring readers to journalists which displays a “push and pull” relationship with readers. Even in 2014 the Associated Press added needed  Social Media reporting standards to the AP Style Guide to make consistency in an emerging news realm.

Overall, Scott Pelley of CBS News has a great message for incoming and veteran journalists. In this day and age can you afford to be wrong? Is there something that is more than meets the eye? Will Social Media eventually see a decline in effectiveness with Journalism and their audience?


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