I have tremendous respect for TechCrunch because the tech blog is innovating and changing the business of technology news. It is fiercely competitive in reporting big news first, as well as providing meaningful analysis. Iâ€™m ok with its trafficking in rumors, because the site is dynamic and allows correction and healthy debate. TechCrunch has pioneered news-as-process versus news-as-product, and the former is the inevitable future. Working at a tech start-up, I have firsthand knowledge of TechCrunchâ€™s power to drive awareness and Web site traffic, and influence reputation. Its team has worked hard to become the single most important technology news site. Impressive.
But I wonder about its recent decision to publish (and justification) a selection of 310 stolen, confidential documents from Twitter. Sure, the documents wouldâ€™ve showed up elsewhere, but TechCrunch injects incomparable visibility, attainable by few other news outlets, if any. Ultimately, TechCrunch garnered a lot of page views, but I wonder how much good it did for the technology and business community. At times, stolen documents can be fair game in reporting the news. I’m not sure of the justification in this case, but I am sure it’s a seminal test. It probably will result in important precedent that will reshape our thinking of the news business. What do you think?