The reality of news media is that once the documents are posted online, they lose a lot of value. A set of documents that could have gotten nation-wide exposure from a paper like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, or USA Today, may instead receive little or no exposure if there isn’t some opportunity for short term exclusivity. If the aim is to get the information out to the largest audience, there is some value in building in a slight delay. It is also likely that if there is no opportunity for an exclusive story, many journalists would cease to make requests and public knowledge might suffer.
How to Actually Improve Public Access to Government Documents (Under the FOIA) - Sunlight Foundation Blog
There is an issue here with the extent to which the press in principle holds others to account: if a particular news outlet is only willing to run a story that it has some sort of exclusive hold over, then the media reinforces the extent to which it is seen as a conduit for news.
This sits uncomfortably with the churnalistic process whereby news media just recycle press releases, press releases that they may have received days earlier under embargo.
What does this say about the relationship between the news media and social media? Or the news media and academia?
Is it the self-perceived role of the news media to act as the legitimising gateway to public attention for certain sorts of information?