Wanting to be first, to beat the competition, to compel other media to say 'as reported yesterday in The New York Times' puts the paper in a position where it can build staff spirit, expand its reputation and win prestigious journalism prizes. And be manipulated like Silly Putty, too.
It gets even better.
I wish I could say the Columbia story was an aberration. I wish as well I could prove it was not. Reporters who make secret quid pro quo agreements with sources don't pick up the phone to tell me they've just concluded a deal. I've stumbled across several pieces in the last few months that emit a slightly fishy aroma, but it would be unfair to cite specifics when reporters deny they've made deals and I can't prove otherwise.
As they say, read the whole thing.